Friday, 28 April 2017

A flexible body equals a flexible mind

I might be a baby ashtangi considering that I have celebrated my one year of Ashtanga practice but I have been practicing yoga since the last 10 years. However by jumping from one style to another I never really enjoy any changes into my daily life.

I was practicing and teaching Pilates, daily swimming and jumping from Vinyasa Yoga to Flow classes to Hatha Yoga to Bikram.

The fact is by repeating daily the same sequence in the same order with a proper breathing had a huge impact on my physical body and on my mind.

It reminded me when I was doing dancing class as a teenager for the all year we were repeating the same choreography, once one part was learned adding new moves until the all set was about a 10 minutes dancing "show".  Then at the end of the year we were showing our work to the school and as it has been rehearsed billion time it was effortless. I remembered I was rehearsing at home and doing daily the floor bar exercices and I was getting really good to it.

That is the same with Ashtanga except that the sequence is slightly harder then the dance moves.

I think in all kind of Yoga we can create our own sequence that fit us and repeat it daily until the body completely absorbs the asanas and get ready to add more postures.

The secret is the repetition and of course a lot of Tapas (discipline, not the spanish appetiser).

Therefore the mind is not disturbed but more focused and it really helps for the rest of the day and probably for the rest of your life as well!

That was my thought of the day ;-)

Week 3 of April with Iain is done, time flies here. One more week and then back to Europe for 3 weeks before coming back to Canggu on June.

More practices to come, more benefits to get, more knowledge to learn, more flexibility for my mind and my body.

Have a great day!

- Namaste -

Friday, 21 April 2017

Interview with an Ashtangi - Bagus from Ubud

If you are coming to Ubud to practice with Iain Grysak I can highly recommended you to stay at the guest house Gayatri Bungalows.

Gayatri by the pool


Rooms are very cozy and furnished with good taste, the place is quiet surrounded with rice fields, there is a swimming pool and the food is delicious. 

The owner of the Gayatri Bungalows is a young Ashtangi who could be easily a model for the fashion industry. As a baby Ashtangi we had really good discussion about the practice as he is one of the regular student of Iain, he has been practicing with him since the last 4 years. 

Let me share you one of our discussion we had. I think there are a lot of insights and good advices about the ashtanga yoga practice.

Beautiful Doors at Gayatri, Ubud



When was your very first practice?


I stared practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 2013, Easter Day, in England. I first did half primary led class with a teacher called Ryan Spielman I did between one half and primary led and then after the second one I stayed behind at the class because at that point I was already hooked and when all the students left I spoke to him and I said "I feel a really strong connection to this type of practice and I'd really like to learn to do it properly so I asked him what will be the best way to do that" and then he said to learn this kind of yoga properly you should go to a Mysore style class but in this kind of class you can not just drop in, you have to really commit". At that point I had so many injuries from sport I was doing playing football, I had a shoulder injury so I could not do anything at the gym and I've always been an active physical person so I had this space in my life where I wanted to do something so I thought I can commit initially for one month. In the beginning after my first week of Mysore style class I did not take any day off, it was instinct addiction, it was only after about one month and a half someone with who I was practicing would say that in the Ashtanga method we usually take Saturdays off. But as it was a non traditional studio they were led classes on Saturday as well.

I heard about the moon day but I thought it was like if you are tired you don't have to practice and it was only when I moved to Bali and I started to practice with Prems and Radha they were really strict and more traditional so that is where I understood moon day is actually day off.

How long did it take you to know the full primary series?


When I was practicing in London for about 6 to 7 weeks I learned the primary series until Bhujapidasana and that was the first pose which I was stuck for some times. After moving to Bali I practiced with Prems and Radha and they were really the people who gave me the first proper foundation for alignment, for breathing, for bandhas, for vinyasa count. They taught me the post of the primary and then the last two of the primary (yoga mudrasana and utpluthih) they did not teach for many months. And then because I was told that it was rude as an ashtanga student to ask for an asana I did not, and then one day Radha came to me and said "what you are not doing the last two poses?" and I said "because you never have taught it to me" and she said "oh okay sorry" and she taught me. So it would have about 9 months after I stared in England that I finished the Primary Series.

Why did you go to your first Ashtanga Yoga class?


After playing football I had ligaments damage in one ankle and serious strain in my other ankle and then I also had a shoulder injury in the right one from which I was unable to do a simple press up so before going to the Ashtanga I was doing Yoga and Pilates 3 to 4 times a week in a gym so the level of the teacher was not that great but it was an interesting introduction. In those days I used to like more Pilates than yoga.  There was a girl that I liked in the university who was doing Yoga at the same place so then I thought it was just a good excuse to go there but it turned out that the two weeks I signed for the classes she was actually sick so she did not come there one time!

What I found really peaceful in the Ashtanga Yoga practice is that there were place for introspection, self discipline, physical challenge which really fit my personal character as I am a quite introspective person.

Eka Pada Shirshasana - Bagus, Gayatri Bungalows

Did you have any problem by being stopped to one asana during your practice?


The answer is not, I did not have any problem of being stop during my practice but I have been stopped many times! The first was bhujapidasana which I was topped for a few months because I could not cross my feet and keep them in the air. I knew I was very young into the practice so I did not have any kind of expectation. The other one that took a long time was shirshasana, to have a stable and straight shirshana take many years actually but as it is one asana of the closing series I was not stop during the practice.

I started the intermediate series with Iain and back bending was easy for me. However I was stopped few month for jumping directly to bakasana, it took me about 5 months to land Bakasana and then after that it took me a while to learn Pincha Mayursana about 6 months and now I am stop at Karandavasana since July 2015 so 21 months!

But it's fine, I know what the tradition is so there is no point of being upset. 

Are you anticipating Karandavasana when you are practicing?


Not really, actually I do believe that some poses after Karandavasana will be fun to try but I don't like dream about it at night. It's normal to want to try new thing but I also know that in general the Ashtanga System has a lot of built-in intelligence so there is no point trying a further pose because you actually need to do the pose before it to build the ability of doing the other pose properly.

The thing about Ashtanga which is nice as well is if you have a bad practice one morning it is obviously a bit annoying, you feel a  bit frustrated, but then you go home, showered, changed, have lunch, work and then it is already the evening and it is really closed to your next practice so there is never any chance to be dull on the practice  because you are always only a short amount of time away from the next one!

Is there any goal you would like to achieve through the practice?


My basic motivation, my approach to the Ashtanga was first to help my body healing and that is the reason why I continue practicing to remain healthy and pain free.

David Williams, when I did the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Conference in 2013 he had this quote who resonated with him, he said "if it hurts or there is pain then you are doing it wrong", that basically encapsulated my feeling or thoughts toward the Ashtanga practice. Learning all poses is also a side effect of the practice but it is not a goal.

Why you don't have any desire of teaching Ashtanga?


Teaching and practicing Ashtanga are two different things. To teach Ashtanga Yoga well you should have a very good practice but if you have a very good practice you will not becoming necessarily a very good teacher.

If you become a teacher you need to commit in a different way and I think to become a full Mysore Ashtanga yoga teacher is a full time job so that means I will have to sacrifice the other things that I am doing because I love my current job.

I really love practicing Ashtanga, with some friends I speak about Ashtanga during my free time and sometimes if they are working on a pose that I have already learned to do then I just tell them my experience of that pose. For example last year with one of the student we did an unplanned workshop for about 2 hours on how to jump/land in Bakasana and it was fine, it is fun to help people. 

But running this guest house is something really closed to my heart and I don't consider teaching Ashtanga as a calling in my life.

Do you think that in 10 years from now you will still be practicing?


Yes definitely. I remember when I started practicing with Iain and we spoke about the sustainability and attitude toward pain and practice, and at that time I was doing the backbend so I told him "I feel a bit of fear during this pose, I'd like to keep practicing for the next 30 years or so". He looked at me and asked "how old are you?" and I said "I'm 23" and he said "30 years? your target should be to be able practicing for the next 60 years!".

In which way the practice has been helping you in your daily life?


This is a really big question and there are so many layers to it and many way of approaching it. There is the purely physical health aspect that can be divided into different parts and aspects for example the blood circulation, the respiratory benefits and things like quality of sleep, the body moves into an economical efficient avoiding putting stress and strain into the joints so that is kind of the gross understanding benefits of the ashtanga yoga practice on the body.

And then when you go on deeper things one of the things you learn about the asthanga is how to deal with anxiety, and Kino talked about it,  by creating a certain amount of anxiety every day in doing difficult physical postures but then facing them every day through breathing deeply and by being brave enough it means that you better prepare when a situation arrives where you start to feel that same kind of anxiety, you know if you stay connected you can go through it.

As for my personal experience, I called it the "suffering factor" which is that part of if you live well you suffer less in the morning, so for example you want to practice every day, it is a big commitment so you need to sacrifice a lot of things but then if you don't practice every day you will suffer more in the morning. If you practice every day there is a lot of momentum your body is just integrated everything and it becomes automatic, it becomes very light and easy, when you start taking breaks you practice one month and then you take a week off and you practice again your body can not do it well so you will suffer more. If you out late at night, if you drink or if you don't sleep enough and you back on the mat at 6.30 AM you will definitely suffer. 

If you heat a lot of unhealthy food and you try to jump in the morning where you need a lot of lightness and use your bandhas, you just can't you will suffer. So as I don't want to suffer in the morning practice I had my diner early, I go to bed early.

On a much more personal things which I don't know whether it will apply to many people but for my all life until now I have always had a degrees of OCD, just typical thing like obsessive list keeping, keeping lists of everything like when I cut my nails, what movies I've watched or how many minutes I've played and how many footballs match, just keeping a list of everything, what clothes I was wearing on which days so that's was one and then another "pretty normal OCD" behaviour is bacterial phobia so if someone is touching the food you just could not eat it or then if someone licks a glass or drinks from your bottle you just leave the bottle away.

I remember once when I was young my mother she bakes a cake and when she was making the dough she dipped a finger in it and taste it and then she put some vanilla in it, mixed it, and then she put her finger in it and tasted again. Because I saw she did not wash her hands, even though she put the dough in the oven and baked it, I could not eat any of that cake.

There is also "classic OCD behaviour" is when you leave the house checking all of the doors locked a certain amount of times, sometimes seven times, sometimes ten times because you know 7 and 3 there are "good" numbers or 7+3 makes ten so you can check for 10 times and then similar thing to when you finish your glass you have to finish it on the seven intakes of water or then if not then you have to take an extra one to empty it just to get seven..... same when you are closing a toothpaste tube or a bottle of perfume you have to do it on 3, it is like really obsessive compulsive behaviour.

There is also the tendency of doing something perfectly. If I put a pants I have to check that everything is symmetrical and same things with a shirt, same thing with the socks so then everything was a lot of efforts, everything took a long amount of time and I was often repeating things because they were not perfect, you know sometimes I put on my socks and my shoes and then I started to tight them but then something felt wrong so I just took everything off and re do it again.

When did you notice you had OCD issues?


It first start at school. It was an international school and we were all slightly of different level so then the teacher wanted to see how many of use were knowing the alphabet on the first day. I knew the alphabet from the pre school and then the teacher asked us to writing down on the notebook. I was given a notebook and a pencil so I wrote down the letter "A" and I remember the horizontal line of the upper case "A" was a bit too high so the letter did not look so nice so I asked for an eraser and erased it and then I tried to write it again but this time the line was a bit too low so I erased it again and then I remember I spent the all class doing it, one hour, I just kept arising until I ripped the page and took a new page and I could never make a perfect "A" so I think the teach must have thought I was a really stupid kid because I did not know the alphabet, which I knew!! But I could not bring myself move forward from that A because it was not perfect. And that was when I was 7 years old.

Firstly OCD is always been called the "doubting decease" which means you always doubt wether is locked, you have to check it again and again and only when you have checked with the magic number okay now you know it is locked. Or then if you don't ride down a list of how many times you've done something you started to doubt whether it has happened, you always doubting of everything.

The second thing with OCD is the desire of control in a world in which you want to have control of your happiness, your health, your financial prospect and so on. You control something but you don't control that many things, if you like someone they might like you or they might not and even though if you really try they might like you a little bit but still they might not like you. You can not control everything.

In Ashtanga you can have the desire to learn a pose very fast but in the end it is not only your will power that is doing it.

The third thing there is a tendency in a lot of OCD behaviour to put to much emphasis on the working of the conscious mind and I guess here is related to the control factor being very averse to surrendering to any other part of the Self. So for example when you lock the door there is definitely part of the Self that already knows that the door is locked but the conscious mind is thinking or maybe the door is not really locked maybe you need to check it magic number of times.

Whereas if it really came to it I think with a lot of OCD people, like if it is really a matter of life and death the conscious mind is switch off into instinctively behaviour; if there is a fire no OCD person is going checking the door, you know they have to get out because they are back to that kind of more instinctive intelligence of the body not the conscious mind.

For many years when I was starting practicing Ashtanga that was the way I looked at the practice, I thought "when I do the practice I need to consciously move my hand this way and then I need to move my leg that way and if I don't think about it it's not gonna to happen. So then it made the practice very rigid, kind of a soldier like, performance like quality and completely lacked quality of softness, quite military, physical, exercice because I could not find myself to surrender from my body, my conscious mind or the meditative state of the practice.

In the beginning I did not like led class because I did not have time to do everything perfect, to control the practice so then for about two years I started the practice I did not do any led class, I did one with Manju and I thought it was terrible so I thought there is no point of going to led class and then of Iain Grysak substitute, Steve, he was very strict and quite agressive and he said to me if I am practicing in the shala I need to go the led classes if not then I won't be able to practice there anymore. I thought okay so I did Steve Lapal classes and I realised if was not too bad and I continued with Iain and he could see that when I was doing Primary with him I was able more less move not perfectly, I still have to straighten my map, straighten my short, straighten my towel but not as much as in the Mysore room. And then I started to stay more in the count.

In the Mysore class I would to stop my practice, blow my nose, straighten my map, straighten my hairs like doing a lot of things and slowly at the time I was able to stay more focus as Iain told me I should stay on the count.

It was a one point when I was doing maybe half of the intermediate that Iain said "what I want you to do is focus less on creating a perfect expression of the pose each time and instead of that try to focus more on staying on the vinyasa count. The way you move in the led class on Friday through the Primary I want you to move the same way through intermediate in Mysore class".

Then at first I thought I don't know if I can do it so mentally I was so dependent of the breaks, like before a difficult pose I was taking 5 extra breathes before I felt ready. It was a direct piece of advice from the Teacher and I did not want to contradict him so I thought okay I will just try it.

And then when I tried it the really amazing thing was I thought that would be much harder to do because I was not taking extra breaths and I had some fears on how it would go but then the interesting thing was instead of that the practice was actually much easier to do because the quality of breathes and the bandhas was uninterrupted and also because I was only focusing on breath, bandhas and movement without breaks all the energy that was going to others stuffs, you know the mat, the towel, the short, blowing my nose, going to the bathroom, all of that energy was not being wasted but was directed toward the practice. So it was like an "Epiphany" like an important realisation for me.

Since that day I thought "wow this is quite an amazing way to be, to feel your mind and your body move".

There was also the article of Iain "Becoming Animal" which is about the organic intelligence of the body and the important of surrendering, to me I will surrender when I'll die, I always have issue with all kind of authority but then what Iain says he too does not agree with the way the word surrender is used in the yoga circle in general because most of the time we surrender to another human being or surrender to a holly text but actually what he says is to surrender to the organic intelligence of the body. And then I was thinking I don't want to surrender to anything but yes I can surrender to myself, that is alright!

Because of Ashtanga,  because of Iain's writing and his teaching I am actually right now at a stage of a kind of lowest OCD behaviour and highest productivity than I ever had in my life.

****

Thank you very much Bagus for speaking from your heart.

- Namaste -

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Why we are getting addicted to the Ashtanga Yoga?

There is something about the daily practice, it becomes a ritual. Waking up early going to the shala for the practice.

Ashtanga yoga Shalas are quiet. No one is sitting on his/her mat chatting with other people, talking about how fabulous your yoga pant is, asking what is your yoga mat, laughing loudly, no, all of theses things are not happening in an Ashtanga Yoga Shala.

You just come, unfold your mat, chant (or not) the opening mantra and then ekam inhale and practice starts.

Some days are good some days are really bad, sometimes the body is completely stiff, you have to deal with it, no whining to the teacher "oh why today my body is so stiff?"... everyones knows why, it happens, nothing is static, each day is different, you are different each new day and so the practice will be different.

Changes are happening, you can feel them. As you are practicing daily the same posture you can feel the difference from day 1 to day 250, you can notice that you are going deeper into the asana without any pain and any fear. You gained courage and confidence and you always remember that nothing is achieve, your practice is always in a process of constant changes as well your body as well your breathing.

Even thought sometimes you feel the temptation of comparing yourself to others the more you are practicing the less you do it. Your mat is becoming your world, your own space, you are completely focus.

The reason we are getting addicted to the Ashtanga Yoga is the realisation that everything is possible. When you are comparing your practice from Day 1 to now there are big changes and still going on. You feel that you improve yourself, not only on the physical part but on the mentally part as well. In a way you are making peace with yourself by knowing you better.

It is also a silent connections with others practitioners, at one point you will notice that you are enfolding your mat at the same place, nearby the same practitioner, even thought your flow will be different from him/her there is something that is guiding you toward the same direction. When the yoga shala is full then it is different but when there is plenty of place you will tend to go on the same spot.

Which to me is really funny because I never had "my spot", I used to change a lot but lately I have noticed that I am putting my mat on the very same place.

The same way you silently understand that some places are "booked" even though the practitioner is not there. For instance I will never ever put my yoga mat on the front row or the second row. 

Most of the time when you exchange the first time with a student the first question is "how was your practice today?". We all know how hard it is so we often encourage each others and talking with others brings you some new highlight to your practice.

It is like being in a community but without living altogether all the time. It is a daily 2 hours of practice where we are sharing our energy and to me it is priceless.

My practice this morning was really good, I almost catch on my own in Supta Kurmasana and Iain was behind me, when he saw my fingers touching each others I heard him saying "hey...."... then he stopped because I was not able to catch but he adjusted me...  but silently we both agreed that it is finally coming ;-)

During shirshasana I have noticed that now I don't really let my head touching the floor, without any efforts (well still pushing hard into the shoulders) I can really feel that my head is lifting up, means that I am building strength in my upper  body which is a good news for all my new jump back and jump front that are slowly coming. I am getting better and better into the jump front still heavy in the jump back.

Right now I am considering staying in Bali on July as well. I am supposed to fly to Greece after Mark Robberds workshop but can not find a flight ticket..... I wanted to practice with Kritina Karitinou and I am having a second thought..... 

To be continued :-)

Monday, 17 April 2017

Jump back and Jump through in Ashtanga

This morning I woke up at 3.15 AM...... then was in the shala by 6.00 AM and started my practice. Curiously it was a good practice, I felt more open, Kurmasana was with heels completely lifted from the floor and pelvis well anchored in the floor. Iain gave me the adjustment for Supta Kurmasana and I hold it for 10 breathes, was very happy.

However jump back and jump through are still pathetic and really heavy. I am very closed to resign from them.

I have noticed that my jump front is really getting better, I can almost jump into the asana but to dismount the posture and to lift my pelvis keeping my legs crossed toward my chest or bringing my heels toward my pelvis is still impossible for me. 

I am putting all my efforts to it.

As David Robson says "When you don't know what you're doing or just can't find some way to connect to the work you  can feel a little bit lost"..... well David, I absolutely agree with you, I am completely lost!!!

There is a beautiful thing David is saying into his video "spin your arms IN"..... I am not sure I am doing it....




So basically I am quite following all of theses instructions but still can not do any jump back without touching the floor. That means that my arms are not strong enough or maybe they are too short and my legs are too big.

This is where in the practice we find excuses, we can't do because of our body. If I recall well last year I was 200% sure that Marychasana D was not for me at all, forever and ever and now I have absolutely no problem with it, I can grab my wrist with assistance and on my own I am closer to it.

So nothing is impossible, I know it but sometimes I am just fed up of trying without any success. And they say that we should not have any expectation.....

Tomorrow is another Mysore practice tomorrow will a new try!

- Namaste -

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Week 2 - Practice is bad

How can we keep a stable mind when the body is changing daily??? This morning my practice was heavy, not flexible and the worth part is I was skipping asanas!!! After Supta Kurmasana (which was really bad even with Iain's adjustment) going directly to Upavista Konasana A.... then realised my error and went back to Gharba Pindasana.

Then After Upavista Konasana A going directly to Ubbaya Padanghustasana....... what was happening??? 

Today my mission is to watch all videos on Youtube about jump back and jump front because I am getting slightly pissed off for not being able to do any of them properly. So I need a clue, even though I think I know all the "tricks" but none of them is working, can I order longer arms???

I don't understand what is the thing that I don't get? Why the message can not reach my brain when I order myself "lift up, cross and jump back"..... Almost everyone is doing it and me I am just heavy as a big truck....

Basically my day has started pretty badly because of this practice.

Tomorrow will be another day, another try and all of the best!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Week 1.... already done!!!

I was almost counting the day in Thailand and here in Ubud time is flying....

This morning was a led class and the shala was completely packed, 28 students or more, we had to add a row and I was slighting putting my mat backward and the lady behind me was very unhappy and almost shout "oh no, not here or you will be jumping on me!....".... well I ignored her and did not jump on her during the full practice which was good ;-) however I almost "eat" her feet while she was dismounting Matsyasana....

Practice was good, it was really nice to follow the count and to let it go. Therefore I cheated a lot for most of jump back and jump front and almost broke my left fingers while jumping into Bhujapidasana as I was too close from the wall..... I just felt and Iain asked me if I was okay which I was so just continuing the practice and did a really really nasty Kurmasana.

My left hand is painful now and a bruise will be showing pretty soon.... when I felt my left index completely bend on the opposite direction (toward the top of my hand) but curiously it seems that it is okay.

Tomorrow is a day off.

During my breakfast I saw for the first time of my life a flying lizard!



He was flying from tree to tree. This small guy was really impressive.

In Bali the life is quite cool and lazy, it is really a Eat, Love and personnally Read as I do not pray.....

- Namaste -

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

After full moon practice is.... so so...

Woke up at 4.35 AM. Was full of energy, very confident to go on my mat and to start the practice..... and then after the first Suraya Namaskara realised that my mind was here and there, looking front and back, not focused at all.

I am not a superstar of the jumping back and jumping front but today it was a total disaster.

Urdhva Mukha Paschimotanasana was fully pathetic as I tried to roll back and forth keeping my legs completely straight.

However my Kukutasana lift up right after the last roll down... however number 2, I was rolling back straight, not in circle.... half cheating.....

I think my practice last for 1h30, with shavasana.... 

Tomorrow will be another day!

- Namaste -


Monday, 10 April 2017

ALREADY ONE YEAR!!

Today is my Ashtanga b-day.

It has been one year that I have decided to dedicate all my practices to the Ashtanga Yoga.

No more Vinyasa Flow, no more Hatha, only Ashtanga Yoga.

Last year at this time I was in Goa practicing with John Scott and discovering the full vinyasa practice of the Ashtanga yoga.

I was doing drop back and even tried to do a Pincha Mayursana. 

Was not able to do Janu Shirshana C from the left leg, and not twisting at all in Marychasana D, at that time I was 100% sure that this asana will be out of my reach forever, because of my knee problem.

Was not able to do Parshvakonasana with the back foot flat on the floor, therefore was not working properly the hips opening that it supposed to happen.

Was not able to hold Shirshasana for more than 10 breaths, and Urdhva Shirshasana was really heavy for me, could only hold it at that time for a "big" 2 breathes. But this has been really improved during John Scott workshop, at the end of the course I was able to lift my head from the floor in Shirshasana.

If I have to compare my practice from last year and this year it is a completely different one. Last year I was in the emergency of doing more and more with a "so so" practice and this year I am more stable.

Physically I have also changed a lot.

I first gained weight, at least 6 kilos and this for the first 8 months..... then slowly the fat start reducing and muscles replace it.

My upper body is bigger, waist smaller and thighs are melting.

My food habit has changed a lot, I eat more and more green, less and less dairy product and most of the time eating 2 meals per day.

My menstruations are connected with the moon, it varies from new moon to full moon.

My mind has improved. More stability, less stress, feeling rooted.

From April 2016 to April 2017 I have been practicing with:

- John Scott (3 weeks)
- Sarawasti Jois (2 months)
- Sharat Jois (10 weeks to be precise!)
- Iain Grysak (2 months)

So approximately 7 months with a teacher and 5 months on my own.

Shiva - In whom all things lie, pervasiveness - Embodiment of grace


John Scott

No need to say that he is an amazing teacher. I learned the vinyasa counting, even though it is far from perfect as I get lost in the counting. He was the first one to bring me in a full supta Kurmasana with my legs behind my head, lifting up keeping my legs behind my head and jumping back from it (well the jump back still need to be improve).

John Scott give everything to his students and more. He is humble and generous, I really loved him.

Sarawasti Jois

My first meeting with the "tradition". The first class was a led class in the main shala as it was on June, out of the Sharat season. I got emotional during the opening mantra because I was really impressed to be in the main shala, it was something to me and I was not prepare to that flow of emotions coming out....

David Roche was there. He was really nice, humble and I really like his adjustments. A very strong man.

Because of my knees problem (meniscus and ligaments) Sarawasti allowed me to practice with variation therefore I was doing the full Primary Series.

One day I received the worst adjustment ever from her daughter which consisted of pushing my upper body down, actually I should say pressurising my upper body down, slightly below my cervicales which drive me to the chiropractor (Rob Lamport is the best in Mysore) the day after. My neck was completely blocked, could not turn it on the right or left side, could not even drink properly.....
So when she came back to adjust me another day I politely declined.

Sharat Jois

After John Scott and Sarawasti it was natural for me to attend Mysore classes under the guidance of Sharat. No fear. I thought skies is the limit, just go for it.

First day..... I realised that maybe I should have not.... probably I don't have that level.... what am I doing here???? What was I thinking???

Then the famous "next", it was for me..... of course front row, 10 cms from his chair (throne).....

Marychasana D came, he quickly looked at me and said "you stop there", closing series.

Then started my real practice. No variation at all....

On the second week I passed Marychasana D on my own, was very happy, I never thought I would have this asana one day in my life.

Then Supta Kurmasana came on the menu..... and for the next 10 months my practice stopped there.

Iain Grysak

One of the most beautiful thing when you are practicing in the main shala is that you will probably meet one of the great Ashtangi such as Ajay Tokas, Kino MacGregor or Iain Grysak.

At that time I was not sure if I should go to Bali and to practice with him, I was a huge fan of his articles and find him very interesting.

Until the day I met him doing the line up to the main shala. For me I took it as a sign, green light, I have to practice with him!

And so did I. And so did I come back to him, I am currently practicing with him and will continue to practice with him as soon as I have free time, Ubud will become my second home.

As promised for the first month Iain stopped my practice at Supta Kurmasana..... I started to hate this asana, to hate that practice, to hate everyone in the shala, why me, why no others, they can not grab neither and still they are doing the full series, why I should stop to Supta Kurmasana, this asana is useless....

Wow! Did not even know that so much anger was living inside of me. It was my first lesson of the year, I was in need of slowing down, acknowledge myself and bring my monster ego down.....

Now I am doing the full series and I am completely satisfied with it. I am not chasing any new asana because I acknowledge that my practice is far from perfect, every day I noticed which part has to be improved and as I said in my previous post, I am perfectly fine where I am, I have absolutely no emergency of touching the backbends, there is so much to do in order to enhance my Primary Series practice that I don't need more.

***

So it has been 12 months and for me it looks like yesterday I was in Goa with John Scott.... 

Time flies. If you have to do something, whatever it is, you should do it now because postponing everything does not help anyone.

- Namaste -

Chaturanga Dandasana the return....

Since the last couple of weeks I am correcting, adjusting my practice. I used to micro bend my knee while bending forward, I don't  do it anymore and as a result it is a huge improvement for my pelvis motion, now I really feel my sit bones lifting up while jumping back and jumping front and the stretch for a forward fold is starting from my lower back, new sensation.

Then I remembered what Iain told us during the immersion last month. The elbows in Chaturanga Dandasana should be on the side, slightly open but surely not below the rib cage which will led the upper body to round, basically a real full plank using only the strength of the arms and the torso and not cheating by contre balancing the body weight on the triceps.

I realised that day I was cheating in my Chaturanga Dandasana.

So I corrected it and once again it is a huge change in my practice. First of all I really need to push against the floor in order to keep a plank pause and then from here going into Urdha Mukha Svanasana takes more effort than I ever thought. I am really working more my pectoralis major and minor, gliding my scapula down into the serratus interior and stretching like I never did before the triceps muscle.

What does it mean???

Well it mean, and it very unfortunate, that I was practicing wrongly, cheating most of the time in the most important part of the practice, how can I lift up and jump back if I am not building my upper body correctly, I can't, it can not happen, it is a "simple" foundation that I have been avoiding because probably of laziness and mostly a lacking of awareness.

I have been compensating a lot, now I am renewing my practice and building a new body. As a result I am not chasing any new asana, I am perfectly fine with the Primary Series and have absolutely no urge of going further. I need to rebuild my foundation.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Back to Ubud and with Iain Grysak!

On February during Iain Grysaks' Ashtanga Immersion course I asked him: "when do you know you have find your teacher?". He laughed.

Today I can make a statement. I have found my teacher and it is Iain Grysak.

Why? and do how I know?

First of all I think he is an absolutely wonderful dedicated practictioner. 

And second thing, the most important, I do feel safe when I am practicing under his guidance. I am trusting him 100%. 

Then how do you know when you have find your teacher? People usually replied that "It is the teacher coming to the student when the student is ready". Actually for my personal experience I came to Iain Grysak after reading his blog, and I do believe I kept an open mind during the first month of practice with him.

It is very comforting to know that I have found my teacher :-)

Morning practice was great, the shala was packed and I realised that a lot of people from Mysore where there. The seasons has ended on March in Mysore and a lot of practictioners are now here to practice with Iain. Then the level of practice is high which give me more strength and more motivation to improve my practice.

My jump back and jump through are slowly improving, I feel like an elephant but gently it is improving. The day I will be able to do a jump back without my feet touching the floor I will post a video!!!

I did hit my 2 yoga mat neighbours in Garbha Pindasana (15 Vinyasas) while rolling.... then Iain was watching me.... I tried to cheat by lifting up after not been able to roll properly but he asked me to do it again.... and again.... and again..... therefore I hit the back of my right neighbour and the leg of my left neighbour..... basically after 15 rolling back I was saying "oh excuse me, so sorry".... it was pathetic... I did lift for 7 breathes but the all the process was really painful.... only for my ego.... even thought I was smiling and laughing internally.... 

Hopefully tomorrow I will do it better and hopefully Iain won't be watching me for this one....

Happy to be here, looking forward for the next practice!

- Namaste -

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

More pelvis to the practice....

This morning I spent more time working more from my pelvis. In Utanasana I used to slightly micro bend my knees while bending forward. Same for Padanghustasana and Padahastasana. This morning I try not.

I was remembering Iain asking me to strengthen my legs while bending forward.

The feeling I had was completely different, I felt by lengthening my legs I had more movement into my pelvis. I usually micro bend my legs in order to protect my lower back and to keep my chest to the thighs but by doing the micro bending I realised that I might be probably locking my pelvis.

So all my practice was focused on my pelvis.

And it does change the practice. For the jumping front my movement came directly from my pelvis, bringing the siting bones up, I tried to do the same for the jumping back keeping my legs completely straight, it was harder but not impossible.

I do believe that by micro bending my knees while bending forward did not allow the flexibility I am looking for to my pelvis. I have to change the habit and to renew my practice once again.

Practice is not still and can not be, it has to evolve and it is a daily progress and process :-)

It was a full 2 hours practice with all vinyasas. The beginning was hard, really hard but then my breathing was more focused and so do I.

Still enjoying it.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A slow and awesome practice!

Yesterday I did my practice outside even though it was raining.... not a good practice but I managed.

This morning I started my practice outside, then the rain came, and took the decision to practice inside. And to my big surprise I was more focused, slower in my movement, in my breathing and in the end it was one of the best practice I ever done since I am in Thailand.

Full vinyasa practice from Dandasana, did not feel any pain, as more vinyasa were coming my body felt alive, did not really push in any asana, on the contrary I practiced all of them very slowly and after 2 full hours of practice was in my Shavasana a big smile on my face.

My yoga mat is finally doing his job, it is not slippery at all and today I did not use the yoga blanket, I was sweating like hell but as my mat was really fixed and helped me a lot for more stability I did not feel any reason to use the yoga blanket at all and it was great, specially for the backbend.

Urdhva Dhanurasana is still very hard to do, I have two choices, one keeping my arms down and grabbing the yoga mat on the side while I am lifting up my pelvis, stretching my legs and rolling on my head.

Second choice and harder is to bring my cross arms on my chest.... in this case can not really extend my lower back, legs can not stretch completely and forcing too much on the cervicales. So right now I am doing the first option.... hoping one day I will be able to do it perfectly.

Ah perfection! Actually I stopped to look for it. I do agree that my jump front are getting better (only for the standing postures) but the jumps back are still relatively pathetic, then I do what I can do, sometimes repeating the jump back before doing the next asana but in general I do accept that I will not become a "jumper ashtangi", it won't be me, I am not from that family.

I am just a dedicated Ashtangi doing her best!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Tropical morning rain - Full Vinyasa Practice!

My body was slightly stiff this morning. So after Purvotanasana I decided to practice with full vinyasa.

Sweating, sweating and cleansing :-)

Tropical rain - absolutely loving it!

After all I am practicing on my own so better to give the best of me. On the contrary it did not exhaust me, I had more and more energy has the rain was pouring, thunderstorm hitting the sky and practice was wet from both rain and my sweat.

It was a good practice and surprisingly did not go over 2 hours as expected.  

This morning I really emphasis about the jump back and jump front which are getting better but are still heavy.

Supta Kurmasana is still by black beast. I can lift my heels from the floor in Kurmasana but still can not bind on my own on Supta Kurmasana.

I am trying everything, starting from the bending led on my shoulder then bending forward, did not work - balancing from one side to other side trying to glide my shoulders below under my knees, did not work - bringing my knees closer to my ears as I am bending forward in Kurmasana, did not work - bringing and rotating my arms more in the middle of my back, did not work neither...... after all of this my lower back was screaming, I was not breathing properly anymore but was not getting pissed off...... I am more in resignation mode regarding this asana.

The full vinyasa helped me to release my lower back as I was staying 5 breathes in Adho Mukha.

Supta Kurmasana why are you here? what are you? what should I learn from you? I have no clue....

Will see tomorrow....



Saturday, 1 April 2017

Certainly one of my worst practice.....

Tuesday was the New Moon so no practice.

Then I had to put myself in "Lady Holidays" for 3 days because of the travelling my cycle seemed to have changed slightly.



So this morning I knew it was saturday, which is consider as a day off, but since I had only one day of practice I decided to start my week today as I will be travelling next week to go back to Ubud.

It was probably a good idea but the body did not follow.

The mind was there completely ready but the mind got pissed off as some point when the body was not following and doing what he was supposed to do.

Even Garbha Pindasana was completely pathetic.....

I skipped Setu Bandhasana and all vinyasa after the backbend and did only 2 Urdhva Dhanurasana as it seemed that my lower back did not want to open at all, my arms did not want to push and my chest clearly did not care of opening neither.....

Shavasana has been completely ruined by mosquitos....

Awful practice, still I feel slightly good because at least I did something but so far what will be the benefit of this practice I have no clue....

Will see tomorrow for morning practice....

- Namaste -