In yoga asana practice, the transitions are just as important as the expression of the posture. In my personal practice, I’m strong at the transitions. I find them fun, and I enjoy the challenge.
I love the jump backs and jump throughs.
I spend time working on jumping into handstand after Uttkatasana…
All I want to do is jump into Kurmasana like Daylene here
vs. wiggle into it (see below)
I’m not sure what this all means. Maybe it means I’m one of the few people who likes and embraces change. Maybe it means that I give more attention to the the flow in and out of postures (or life situations) to make change as seamless as possible. What does it mean that I spend more time on transitions than the actual postures that I’m struggling with? I’m still figuring it all out, and not giving it much thought. I like to let the answers come these days. I leave the deep analytical thought process to the important stuff so that I can burn off samskaras (afflictions) and change my karma. I don’t want my brain to hate me. Wait, is this important?
Even though I tend to be strong at transitions in my asana practice, I haven’t mastered it in life yet.
One thing to be certain of is that we’re always in transition in life. That never changes. Some transitions are more intense than others, but as I move, breathe in new air, hear new information, and consume food, everything changes. Cells in my body are effected, my emotions might go up and down, and certain chemicals are released due to excitement, stress, happiness, or depression. Change is the only constant in life, and it’s pretty freakin’ beautiful!
I’m currently going through a huge transition since I was uprooted from my condo, and had to quickly find a place to move and live. I wanted to make this move easy, but for some reason it was the hardest move, physically and emotionally, I’ve ever done.
When I moved into the condo 4 years ago, I was also going through a huge life change. I just moved into my new place after ending a relationship that lingered way longer than it should have. After I settled in, I got deeper and deeper into Ashtanga. Then, I decided to dedicate myself to a Mysore program, and a few months after that I signed up for an amazing yoga apprenticeship. I completely devoted my life to studying this practice, and never looked back.
About a year after my training ended, I left the yoga school I was at for personal reasons and transitioned my practice to home. I never stopped practicing, but an at home practice is a completely different beast. I highly recommend it on occasion for any Ashtanga practitioner because this is a true test to your devotion and commitment to the practice. You don’t have anyone to push you except yourself, and you’re not practicing with the motivation and energy of people around you. You have a whole set of other distractions, and your mind and your ego will try to control you. My mind would tell me to skip parts of my practice, add on postures, give up early on, or just skip practice all together. Just like anything, it takes devotion, commitment, and discipline. When you finally get to the point where you can hop on your mat and do your whole practice with just the observation of your thoughts, then this is truly your teacher.
This doesn’t take place of an actual physical teacher.
A teacher will challenge you in ways that you wouldn’t normally, and be able to see things in your practice that you can’t see on your own. Submitting to a teacher that you trust is a humbling experience because you have to accept where you are, not fight it, and completely let go of your ego.
During this whole moving transition, my practice has been wonky. I was staying up late packing and unpacking, eating at random times, and was scattered in everything I was doing. Yoga practice is a direct reflection of what’s going on in life. My practice was suffering, and so were my commitments in other areas. Not to mention, it has been impossible to find a peaceful place to practice while organizing my new place.
I made the decision to go back to my roots, and return to the yoga school I came from.
Monday was my first day back, and it felt amazing to have a teacher again. It felt incredible to be in a Mysore room with the energy of dedicated practitioners, and to receive loving and attentive adjustments. Even though I’ve been gone for over a year, my teacher can still read what’s going on internally, and adjust me in ways that help me let go of the pain.
I have a lot to work on…
It’s obvious that I need to build up some strength and energy to get back to where I was. My first day back, my shins started to burn, I felt like I was going to throw up and cry in all of my forward bends (Janu Shirsasana A, B, C), and I needed help in Marichyasana D and Supta Kurmasana. I skipped dropbacks because I was already working hard and feeling drained.
Tuesday was way better. I had built up some prana so my energy was rocking. Marichyasana D was back on one side, Supta was a little closer, and I actually enjoyed dropbacks. I’m already feeling happier, craving healthier food, and my eating schedule is getting back on track.
Working through this difficult place in my practice only means that it’s going to improve, and if that’s where I put my dedication and energy, then I can be sure it’s going to reflect off of my mat and into my life.
My point: You just have to keep practicing. Start where you are. Stay humble. Choose a teacher. Be Your Own Teacher. Forgive Yourself. Love Yourself. Love Others. Embrace Change. Smile.
I apologize that I have been a little absent. This post even took me four days to get out. However, great things are already happening, and I am happy to know you, and grateful you’re a part of it.
Love and Blessings to you.