5 July 2019
Hello, Friends. I hope you are keeping well and warm this winter. June was a difficult month for many people here in Melbourne, and lots of MM students were unwell with colds and flu. I have been really glad to see that students who are returning to class after a bout of illness are coming back into practice gently and sensibly, allowing time to build strength again
It is important to collect tools that enable you to practice yoga in a consistent and sustained way. Ashtanga yoga, without consistency, isn't actually Ashtanga yoga - it's just jumping around. I understand Ashtanga yoga to be practicing vinyasa (attunement to naturally occurring cycles of energy ie. breathing, moon cycles, seasons) and practicing yoga tristhana (attention). It is meditation more than it is exercise and as such it needs commitment and attention. Call me crazy, but how on earth could you expect to practice attention without giving it your attention? Practice doesn't do itself. You actually have to work at it. But be mindful of what you are actually working at. Are you working on your backbends? Or are you developing a capacity to focus your mind and be respectful of and responsive to life as it arises within and around you? A backbend can be a good vehicle for learning, but it doesn't end in your lovely curves.
In my classroom, I make an effort to show students that Ashtanga yoga can be a gentle and restorative practice - it is simply a matter of approach. The reason why I do this is because I hope to make daily practice accessible and sustainable. The very same series of asanas can be soft one day, and dynamic another. Practice can be like music. Why not develop a range, rather than playing that same loud note, day after day. And please be sensible. If you are reading this, sick in bed, stay there! Rest! Don't fight it. Wait for energy to rise again and then move with it. :)