Wednesday, 28 June 2017

See the glass half full or empty

There is something that I have learnt by practicing Ashtanga Yoga with different teachers and meeting dedicated practictioner is that there is no place for self pity, all Ashtangis I've met and spoke with have met obstacles on their yoga journey.

I am not saying that you SHOULD continue to practice if your have an injury. It is your call wether you stop or wether you try to adapt your practice.

The advice I have received is to take care and to adapt my practice, which I am doing. Furthermore I am not stopping my practice but I do it differently.

Self pity can be very poisonous. Because the only thing you think about is all about what you were able to do before your injury, so you are in the past instead of the present moment trying to analyse what else should be done to improve the practice.

For instance all forward fold from the left side is not happening, no problem just stay there and keep a flat back without pushing forward.

Take more time in the Chaturanga Dandasana working the shoulders strength, enjoying each inversion and back bend, trying to hold longer time all arms balance during transition, working more the core during Navasana, enhancing the lift up and jump back.

I took the decision to glorify my practice by improving all things I thought I had acquired. 

I took the decision to see the glass half full.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Practicing with a sit bone pain

I have been out of my mat for the last 4 days. This morning was "my come back". Ant it was painful. The pain is always here and getting worst if I am bending my knees while bending forward. The reason is very simple by bending the knee the hamstring is shortening therefore I am adding more force to the sit bone end of the hamstrings.

I noticed it already last week and then stop to bend the knees while bending forward except for few exception such as standing balancing poses.

Here is a good article about the sit bone pain : Dealing with sit bone pain.

Credit photo:

When you are practicing the primary Series this kind of injury can really compromise the practice. Basically the Primary Series is all about forward fold so there are a lot of things that you can't really practice when you there is a sit bone pain.
Instead of it I try to focus more about my jump back and jump through as well the backbend but mentally speaking it is also really hard to deal with and quite challenging.

And even though I am jumping to the secondary series then I will be stuck to Krounchasana as I won't be able to lengthen the left leg. Then questions arise, should I just stop the practice? Should I continue following David Keil instructions such as keeping my leg lengthening instead of bending it.

The reason I am keeping the practice is if I stop it then I will become insane. I have taken 6 months off of no teaching, no working just to practice and go deeper into the Ashtanga Yoga, of course at that time when I took that decision my expectations were high and I had some beautiful moments, the day I was able to lift up my legs from the floor in Kurmasana, the day I was able to bind and cross my legs in Supta Kurmasana, the day I did Urdhva Dhanurasana with my hands on my chest, all of theses moments were priceless and highly satisfactory.

What about the here and now? All of theses asanas mentioned previously are now completely out of my reach, even a "simple" Prasaritta Padotanasana is not happening.

I feel I am moving backward instead of moving forward. And there is nothing I can do about it, the healing process will be long and will be longer if I push my body so there is only one thing to do for me is to step back and continue the practice with an open mind by accepting my new limitations.

However I should not erase from my memory that I am able to do all of theses postures, it will come back one day, maybe in 6 months or maybe in one year.

In the mean time I will manage the practice and will slightly change it when I won't be in a Mysore class.

And then Yoga is not ONLY ABOUT asanas so there are many things to be discovered. Maybe I never apply what I was preaching, Asanas are just part of the Yoga journey but do not define what Yoga is.

Instead of torturing myself and the self pity I should glorify my body and my practice. If this pain is here that is for a good reason, I just need to focus toward the others limbs of Yoga and not being stuck to the physical part of it.

- Namaste -

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Being faithful to Santosha

The practice of the Ashtanga Yoga is a very long process.

And it is not a linear one, it is very random. Some days your practice will reach some peaks and you will feel just wonderful about it, asanas that where out of your reach become suddenly very easy to do and others that you used to do without any problem are becoming tricky....

Older pains suddenly disappear giving the opportunity to new ones to arise.

The main thing is not to create any expectations.  Expectations in Ashtanga Yoga Asana practice are the killer of your emotions, a massive weapon of destruction.

Whatever it is happening to you and whatever the result is with your practice you should always keep in a small (or big) part of your brain and nervous system the Santosha concept. Whatever happened you are happy and comfortable with it. Yesterday you were catching, Santosha, today you are not catching, Santosha, yesterday you were pain free, Santosha, today you are full of pain and it hurts badly, Santosha.

Easy you just keep yourself out of trouble and do not let the little monkey playing with your mind.

Unfortunately this is one of the concept that can be unreachable because we are human being.

The society does not apply Santosha at all, we are living in a world in which the happiness is relying on how much you get on your bank account, how much you can buy things and do not worry because if you do not have money the Bank will be here to offer you the best loan of your life with high interests but at least you will be able to buy that new car you have been looking for since you were a kid....

The Society is not happy when people are happy. Because if we live in a world in which we are satisfied of what we've got then the TV, Internet, Social media will always remind you that your are missing something.

We want to live longer but we do not want to look older, no problems at all there is always a solution, you can have a face lift that will change your life, the botox will help you to look younger because having wrinkles does not look good.

You should not be fat, whatever happens in your life you should keep a beach body so the Society will always create a new craze about the new food that will help you to get rid off those nasty tiny bump arising around your waist and cellulite we all know is bad looking.

The TV Reality shows are all about competition. You take a group of 6 people and in order to win the game they just have to betrayed all others participants to show they are better.

You should not be "alone", if you haven't tight the note after your 25 then you might have a problem so the society has created speed dating, and yes it is "speed" dating because it has to be fast, why are we taking so much time to find our other half? It is a shame, better to be with someone quickly who will fulfil your demands as fast as she/he can, because we all know that our happiness is relying on someone else right? How can you be happy if you are "alone", not dating someone? 

I was laughing so bad when I read the article about Gwyneth Paltrow explaining the benefit of the Yoni eggs..... because of course our happiness is also relying on a good  sexual relation ship as well, so in order to make happy your partner please use them....

In this world we have to  be perfect, you want more hairs, extension, more lashes, extensions, beach body, surgery, wrinkles free, surgery, new house, loan, new car, loan, happiness, speed dating and so on....

Therefore our way of life is such a competitive one that applying the concept of contentment is really hard.

What are our expectations when we are unfolding our mat each morning? What is the reflection of our practice linked to our way of life?

You might have been comparing yourself with others instead of glorifying your own practice, you might have been judging teachers and students instead of analysing what was happening deeper inside of you.... what if the "problem" was between you and the relationship with you inner self? Why can you not be happy with the things you have accomplished and will accomplished in the near future? 

That is the process.....

Monday, 19 June 2017

Premenstrual syndrom

The joy of being a woman ;-)

The PMS symptoms can begin on the 14 days of the cycle, "happily" for me it mostly begins around a week or 4 days before the periods starts.

A chemical change in the brain and an insufficient amount of serotonin can cause PMS. 
Serotonin is active in constricting smooth muscles, transmitting impulses between nerves cells, regulating cyclic body processes and contributing to well being and happiness (source:

During the PMS we can also experienced the following:

1. Pain areas such as breast, abdomen, back, joints, muscles and pelvis
2. Constipation, diarrhoea,  nausea, gas or water retention (hopefully not all of them!)
3. Excessive hunger or lost of appetite, fatigue
4. Anxiety
5. Acne, depression, weight gain, insomnia, irritability etc...

One of the solution to avoid all of these is regular physical exercice. However even thought you are a regular practictioner of Ashtanga or other style of Yoga the PMS can still occur. So yes physical exercice might help but does not protect you against it.

Food habit can also have an impact such as coffee which seems not to be good and too much sweet.

Mea culpa I am coffee drinker.... however I do believe that my diet is okay, I do eat a lot of fruits and vegetable and slowly but surely cutting all dairy products. The only one that I can not really stop is the butter, as soon as I see a piece of bread I need butter on it... 

Sometimes it is very frustrating when you practice because you know at one point during a week your practice won't be as good as it was the week before, not to mention when the bleeding starts during which you  can (or I personally) can not practice for 48 hours.

The "solution" will be to take the birth control pill for which I am  completely against, so that is a big no. If you are taking the birth control pills then you might not need to stop your practice as your cycle is not a natural one, everything is fake, even the bleeding is fake.

Now how to deal with the PMS during your practice?

If someone has the answer then I am ready to listen because every month it is a nightmare for me. My body is completely stiff, I have pain everywhere, I am big and completely moody.

Basically on a one month practice I only have 3 weeks during which I am really practicing....

I am then wondering how Wonder Woman manage it....

Monday, 12 June 2017

Week 2, Day 2, Mark Robberds

Even thought I know my limitation because of my injury I have to admit that sometimes it is really hard to deal with it. All standing poses for instance are completely excruciating, not to mention that the Prasaritta Padotanasana Series that I used to love and practice so much is now completely out of my reach.....

However once passed all Janu shirshana the practice is getting more pleasant.

Supta Kurmasana was effortless, I am binding slowly but easily.

Some of my jump through were flying.

But in the end, after Shavasana I just wanted to cry, I felt alone on my mat, I was watching the practice of others and was wondering when can I reach that level? 

My backbends are really going well, I have so much good things coming out of my practice and I have absolutely no reason of feeling down.

I just want the injury to be heal, quickly... how long will it last??

Anyway, tomorrow is another practice so only good things can come out of it.

- Namaste -

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Learning how to practice with my injury - Week 2, Mark Robberds

My injury is getting worst, left sit bone, left hamstring are completely tight, can not bend forward on the left side, however the hip opening is still happening so it does not stop to practice the Marychasana D for instance but all forward fold on the left side are completely out of reach.

This morning after Trikonasana B when I noticed that I could not even reach the floor without bending my left knee I was about to cry.

Then as my practice was going on I realised that it does not stop to me to work my jump back and jump through as well the lifting up.

At one my point I decided to just let it go.

When I reached Bhujapidasana I then realised that even though I did not really control the head down on the floor I've done it without my feet touching the floor, it was such an improvement. However to come back I had to bring the feet on the floor but mostly the work was coming from my arms, so I was very happy.

I also did a beautiful Setu Bandhasana with my arms crossed at my chest without any pain at all, it was actually very easy. Urdhva Dhanurasana was really easy as well.

My drop back were also very good, I come back with my head last and mostly the work is now coming from my legs.

So what am I learning right now?

Okay I have this bad injury but it is just limiting me in some asanas during the forward fold. However I can still improve the rest of the practice and instead of having pity of myself it woke up the warrior in me.

Today I practiced in full consciousness about my limitations and explored more about the things I can actually do but that I never done it fully because I thought it was out of my reach.

It was a full 2 hour practice, taking my time but respecting all vinyasas.

Finally it all happened for a good reason ;-)

- Namaste - 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Day 4 with Mark Robberds - Reflection on my practice

This year my practice has completely improved and is totally different from the practice I was doing 10 months ago.

I have been, and still is, lucky enough to practice under the guidance of two great Ashtangis which are Iain Grysak and Mark Robberds.

They have similar life experience and their approach of Ashtanga Yoga does not differ. 

I have a huge respect for all other teachers that I have met such as John Scott and David Swenson but to the question "who is your teacher" I will definitely reply Iain Grysak and Mark Robberds and from now on I will stop to run after Ashtanga workshops from others teachers and will continue to practice as much as I can with Iain Grysak and Mark Robberds.

On February when I came to Ubud to practice with Iain Grysak I was in an hurry to learn and practice, I wanted him to give me asana, my priority was to move on even though I was not ready for it, my expectation was to be feed from the asana. It did not happen. On the contrary I realised many things during this month. I thought I was well balanced, positive and focused. I was not.

My breathing was on/off, my practice was not smooth and relaxe because my mind was not stable. With Iain I learned the patience and realised after all there was no emergency to move forward into the series. To my big consternation I realised I was judgemental by comparing myself to others who were going further into their asana while I was stuck at my infamous Supta Kurmasana.

And it really hit me into my face! As a matter of fact I got sick as my body was in need to process all of this new events.

When I cam back on April and May to Iain Grysak I was more stable and my practice changed drastically.

Now I am practicing with Mark Robberds and I have absolutely no rush to move forward into my practice. I have a slow practice, to do the full Primary takes me at least 1h45 minutes, sometimes 2 hours and even thought I have started to work the drop back I am not requesting it at all. I do it slowly on my own rythme, I don't even try to go down completely as I know I can not come back on my own, I understand my limitations and I completely accept them.

Mark does more adjustments but they are very soft, he does not push at all.

Both are talking the same about the practice, sometimes you improve one asana and on the same day you loose another one because it is a process, the body need to print the movement into the muscular fiber creating a body map. 

Creating more space into the body will definitely have an effect on our posture, the more you practice back bending the more hips opening you will have but the more you practiced all hand stand position the less opening shoulders you will get. There is a need to find a balance into the practice, by finding it we will be able to balance ourself and to keep a steady mind.

Accepting the changes is also very important, one morning your practice will be awesome and the very next the practice will be absolutely awful, but it should not stop you to come on the mat because nothing is permanent, the same way the ocean is having high and low tide our body is having good and bad day.

- Namaste from Canggu -

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Day 3, Mark Robberds Intensive - practicing my back bend

This morning my body was completely stiff but the practice was really good. Still my practice is really slow and I am managing the pain which is becoming smother. 

I start practicing more back bend but I want to do it slowly, there is no emergency for me to grab my ankles. I asked Deepika how can I use the wall and she showed me, so I am not doing any drop back as right now I would like to start doing it myself. For this I need to open more my upper chest but need really to work on my legs.

When coming back from a drop back the work is coming essentially from the legs. However I do not feel anything coming from my legs and beside I was not able to completely strengthen my arms neither. Therefore if I am doing a drop back with help mainly the work will be done from the helper and not from me so I want to avoid it and need to reinforce my legs during all backbends.

This will be my mission for this month of practice.

This afternoon we have a session so this morning just relaxing.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Day 2 - Ashtanga yoga with Mark Robberds, Canggu

I am learning to practice with pain, my left sit bone is still painful but it is completely manageable. My practice is slower than usual and in order to avoid the pain I am learning how to stretch my left side from different other part of my body. As my forward folds are slightly limited on the left side I try to stretch more from the lower back to gain more space between the sit bone and the lumbar spine. So far it is working.

The practice was good this morning and tomorrow I will start the back bend on my own using the wall, Deepika is showing to students how to use the wall without becoming completely dependant of it.

My jump back and jump through.... how can I put it in words.... yesterday we have an all session about how to reinforce the core center, mostly I knew all exercices but I have to admit that I do not practice them so maybe I should add it to my routine, maybe I should start to add a little session in the afternoon with this kind of exercices.

Mark said that if you want to practice the Ashtanga at one point you have to put the spiritual on the side and to commit only to the movement, becoming more athletic.  Even though I really want to manage the jump back and jump through I never really commit to it, during the practice I am trying my best but never I am practicing it outside of the practice so maybe it is time for me to start the process.

But then it is really confusing as some teachers told that the practice is enough and practicing another session might have side effects such as closing the part of the body your are opening during the morning practice. What is wrong, what is right? I don't know.

I will start a routine in the afternoon with exercices showed as yesterday and will see the effect it will give to my morning practice.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mark Robberds, Ashtanga Yoga workshop - Day 1, Canggu

Back to Bali after 3 weeks in Europe during which my practice has been erratic. I did not practice at all for a full week as I am having tremendous pain in the left sit bone since the workshop in Sweden.

This morning I was very happy to go back on my mat and also a little bit anxious. How will I deal with the pain. 

After all it was fine, my left side is definitely getting sore during all forward bend so I have to adapt the practice by bending the left knee and putting a towel below my left tight each time I am bending forward for the siting posture.

Deepika noticed it and told me to continue like this, not forcing in Paschimottanasana.

I do believe it will be find, the funny thing is I did not feel any pain during Supta Kurmasana and Upavista Konasana, the pain is very present when I am bending forward with legs closer together but during a forward fold with an external hip rotation it does not bother me at all.

I am very happy to be back there and this practice even thought it was not the best practice was really good for my mind and body.