Dear Yogi friends,
With most of the hectic summer behind us and autumn routine beginning, consider nurturing habits that will carry you gracefully through the rest of the year. Speaking of grace, I would like to talk about the principles of asana practice. What is an Asana? Asana translates as “posture.” The word is derived from the sanskrit root “as” which means “To be”, “to stay”, “to sit”, or “to be established in a particular position.” Patanjali’s yoga sutra ( widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga ) describes an asana as having 2 important qualities: sthira and sukha.! Sthira means steadiness and alertness. Sukha is comfort and ease in a pose. Both qualities should be present to the same degree when practicing any posture.
When we go into a posture or carry out a movement that feels tense, it is difficult to notice anything else besides that tension. Perhaps when we sit in a cross-legged position our only thought is for the pain in our strained ankles. In doing this we are not really in the asana we are striving for — We are obviously not good for this particular position. Rather, we should find ways of modifying the posture to achieve more steadiness, alertness, and overall comfort.
If we want to make this principle of asana practice a reality, we have to accept ourselves just as we are. If we have a stiff back we have to acknowledge this fact. It may be that we are working with an injury or the shape of our body limits our range of motion. It may be that we are very supple but our breath is very short. It is also possible to feel comfortable in an asana while the mind is somewhere completely different. This is not asana either. It is only possible to find the qualities that are essential to asana if we recognise our own uniqueness and learn to accept it.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), metal is the primary element for autumn and governs our core, the most refined part of ourselves. We often think that the core is somewhere in the middle of our body, right around the abs, but this complex series of muscles extends far beyond that. The core extends to our low back, outer-middle back, running down along the sides of the torso, from the ribs to the upper hips, hamstrings, backs of the thighs, buttocks, muscles that run from below the sternum to the waist and more….. Related organs are stomach, gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas and large intestine. The energy of the core is associated with personal power, self esteem and issues dealing with questions such as “who we are in the world”, “what remains constant in a forever changing world?”
Join me this month at aquariusyoga to strengthen this complex series of muscles to create stability for the entire body and replenish our vital energy.
Classes resume on Monday 04 Sep:
Monday – Vinyasa flow 7:30 – 8:45 pm Tuesday- Hatha Yoga ( gentle flow ) 6:30 – 7:45 pm Tuesday- Vinyasa flow 8:00 – 9:15 pm Above classes are held in Market hall, Market Square, Old Amersham
Wednesday- Hatha Yoga ( all levels ) 6:00 – 7:00 pm, Dr Challoner’s girls school, Little Chalfont.
Thursday- Hatha Yoga ( all levels ) 9:30 – 10:45 am, St Mary’s Church Old Amersham