The Asana Sutras and an Update on Post Pune Practice
|Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit. (I)
Asana should be steady and comfortable. (B)
|Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.
[Such posture should be be attained] by the relaxation of effort and by absorption in the infinite (B).
|From then on, the sadhaka is undisturbed by dualities. (I)
From this, one is not afflicted by the dualities of the opposites. (B)
I realize I’ve not been blogging as much lately and that I have been going through padas I and II quickly. Mostly, I have been posting chunks that are related to each other topic wise and not saying much about them. Once I get to Pada III again, I’ll slow down because I will have to start adding in the diacritical marks myself rather than copying and pasting from the work Jeff has done. I was working a lot with Pada III before going to Pune, but took a break from that while I was there. It will be good to get back to that work of learning new sutras. Pada IV I’ve worked with not much at all.
Also, I have not felt all that inspired about writing about yoga philosophy lately. Obviously, not having the daily dose of Prashant puts me in a different context, but I’ve also been writing more “regular” philosophy.
(As an aside, even though feeling inspired to write, having a burning desire to say something, to express ideas that come to mind, is wonderful, in the larger context, I don’t think it really matters if one feels inspired to write or study. One should still do it and that doing it is a large part of making the inspiration happen. The muse has to know where to show up each day, so to speak)
Anyway, I have however, been doing a good bit of asana lately, so here are some comments on Asana two months after two months in Pune. I definitely have more ease is some poses that have been ongoingly difficult for me. Twists, particularly on the left side are coming much better, Padmasana is more accessible and my backbends are quite a bit stronger. All the groin work I’ve been doing has led me to the realization of how important the leg actions are in backward bending and once I’ve been getting my legs (hamstrings, buttock tailbone) more involved paired with more open front groins that’s been taking a lot of the effort out of my wrists and shoulders. Also, I’m more “interested” in practice. it is still a challenge to do as much yoga as I was doing there, but I am managing between 2 and 3 hours plus morning pranayama and whatever I do teaching wise.
I feel like my life has been on a more even keel since I came back from Pune. A bit more steadiness in practice, a bit more effortless effort does seem to be leading to being less affected by duality. I also think I had a great deal of anxiety about the trip itself, leaving for that long, the logistics of travel etc and that’s simply not there anymore and happily some new anxiety has not emerged in its place.
Yesterday in Devon’s class we did a lot of malasana at the beginning of class some AMS, AMVrk and a long time in Sirsasana (Parsva Sirsasana, and Parsvaikapada variations) and a lot of versions of B1 followed by M1 and my M1 was about the best I’ve ever done. I’ve been having a lot of experiences of “wow, that’s the best I’ve done that pose” lately. Of course other poses, like the right side of Ardha Matysendrasana seems still awful, even though I got the most solid grip on my toe on the left side that I’ve ever gotten. Sarvangasana felt truly transcendent after all those twists.
Another benefit of more focus on asana is that I do find myself inspired about sequencing. Sequences come to my mind. I want to explore different relationships of poses and ways to work them and I’m eager to share those explorations with my students.