Here I discuss the recently published article by William J. Broad in the New York Times, titled Women’s Flexibility Is a Liability (in Yoga) which provoked a strong response from many in the yoga community.
We shouldn’t take it lightly when we ask or direct people to breathe in very specific ways. Breathing is personal to all of us. There may be long standing physical patterns, emotions, or trauma mixed into the way we breathe. We should be aware that breathing in different ways has different affects on us. The rate of inhalation can be stimulating, agitating, or calming.
There is a pattern that has shown itself to me over the last few months. I don’t think that this pattern is a result of practice but probably an underlying pattern that already existed. As often happens, regular practice can uncover any number of problems or imbalances in our body. Hopefully the practice helps to create balance and “fix” them.
Doing an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice involves much more than merely doing the asanas enumerated in the Primary Series. As a sequence, the primary series is the foundation of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. It plants the seeds that will grow into the other sequences. But it’s not limited to the asana element. The seeds that should be planted are also the more subtle components.
Although somewhere in my mind a voice is telling me I should have had this prepared before this day, I realize that not everything can be planned. A good thing in many ways because the feeling of the day would not have fully been a part of the writing if I didn’t wait until the day had actually arrived.
It is disheartening to see the New York Times come out with yet another article that seems to completely miss the point of yoga. I think this one is worse than the last, which described a woman going to yoga and eventually realizing that cross training would lead to smaller sized clothing than if she only did yoga. I can only imagine how these NYT articles are put together and why. Picking quotes and statistics that fit the agenda of the author perhaps? What is the point exactly of this article, to warn people to not try or practice yoga? Is it to break up certain myths surrounding yoga? What does this really say about yoga injuries?
Thinking of Oz I wasn’t going to make this a “post” but I’ve never gotten so many email replies to a newsletter. Oz’s Facebook Where she taught in London Her Bubble of Happiness website I guess I should say… Happy New Year! I’m in a rather reflective mood and a little bit down. I know that many of you are on this list because you want some yoga anatomy information. You’ll have to accept my apologies this time around because I don’t have an anatomy …
The foundation of our bodies and our yoga practice lies at our feet. In order to incorporate both physical and energetic foundations, we must examine our body’s center of energy, movement and balance which begins near the psoas muscle– the pair of deep muscles extending from the sides of the spine to the femur that are activated in yoga postures like forward bending (paschimottanasana), Boat pose; and lengthened in poses like Warrior I and Bow.
In the last two newsletters I’ve covered both mula and uddiyana bandhas from an anatomical point of view. I feel the need to finish off these two articles with one on the breath. It seems to me that without breath, there are no bandhas. In fact, as the title says, from breath comes bandha. My logic works like this, if we’re going to try and control as well as use energy in our body, then we have to be bringing that energy in. In yoga, there is one way in which energy comes in and it is through the breath.
The bandhas (mula bandha specifically) are perhaps the most difficult aspect to grasp in the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. For me personally, I think I know what they are. But then I look back at my little life as an Ashtangi, amazingly at 11 years now, and realize, I thought I knew what they were 10 years ago. Then just 5 years ago I understand them even more differently than I do today. My experience of them has changed over the years and will continue to as I’m guessing your experience of them will.