Thursday, March 5, 2009

Problems connecting

Had trouble connecting to the internet yesterday, perhaps due to the cloudy and rainy weather (of course, it arrived just after Sarah P-C and I hung up our freshly washed laundry...

So, I typed out a blog post in Pages, and just tried to paste it here... no, it didn't work, so I'll have to retype it... 

Of course, now, it's Friday, so I'm a bit behind.  Just as an aside, though, this morning's practice was incredible.  Amanda and Brigid watched (they'd practiced with John at 5:30 AM), and the rest of us did guided self-practice.  The energy in the room was indescribable.  We were all riding a wave.

Here's from Day 3:

Day 3 feels like Day 6

We've only had three days of practice and class, and we've covered SO much, it's amazing.

Evelyn and Bela practiced with John this morning, and then observed the 8 AM practice (the rest of us).  John led us through full vinyasa (including full vinyasa standing poses) through navasana.  It was terrific.  The energy was very together, very uplifting.

We're not only covering vinyasa count during class, but also how it relates to yogic philosophy, to the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth), to the senses, to meditation...

John has a great way of looking at/diagraming the 8 limbs... which I should mention more, since this IS the Eight Limb Yoga blog, right?  He puts the 8 limbs in to a wheel formation with spokes:  Asana is at the top, directly across from meditation (dhyana) at the bottom.

OK, maybe some people reading this don't know all eight limbs.  Here you go:  1 - Yamas (right attitudes; 2 - Niyamas (right observances); 3 - Pranayama (breath control); 5 - Pranayama (control of the senses); 6 - Dharana (concentration or attention); 7 - Dhyana (meditation); and 8 - Samadhi (absorption or bliss).

For those of us in the west who practice yoga, asana can often be given all of one's attention and energy, pull the wheel out of balance.  How can a wheel with uneven spokes roll smoothly?  It can't.  It makes for a very bumpy ride.

Nevertheless, asana is an accessible entry point for westerners.  Most of us are open to the physical, to movement.  With Ashtanga Yoga, movement is synchronized with the breath, so there's an introduction to pranayama right away.  In fact, the #1 focus is the breath -- constant, monitored, regular.

Imagine the breath symbolized by a line, a wave.  When someone breathes in and stops, or holds the breath, the wave disappears, and instead, you have a straight line... and what does a straight line on a heart monitor machine tell you?
Just something to think about...

With all of the serious discussion in class going on, I found some humor in our homework.  We were assigned to draw stick figures of Surya Namaskar A with the vinyasa count and breath... well, I did that, but I also did it using a sheep as the figure.  Seems fitting for NZ, especially since John talked about all of the sheeples of New Zealand...

Hey, if Babar can do yoga (yes, there's a Babar yoga book; one of my students gave it to me), why can't New Zealand sheep?

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