Saturday, August 15, 2015

Full Yoga Immersion. Woohoo!

Full yoga immersion today. Fuh. Do die me. In a good way. Hahahahah! I really should stop using that phrase. Even as a Malaysian, certain Manglish phrases still tickle me silly. Bahahahah!

Well, the day started with an 8am yoga class that I had to teach. Sometimes I enjoy teaching complete beginner classes. It feeds the alignment-addict in me. Heh. One of the core principles I hold close to my heart is that we should practice asana in a way that allows for a life-long practice. We are not doing asana to be in competition with the person on the mat next to us. Neither are we doing it to be able to perform circus-like contortions & tricks. Not that there is anything wrong with people who enjoy vigorous vinyasa & doing multiple inversions etc. I like how Jason Crandell put it:

Different people require different degrees of physicality to feel grounded and content. And, even more, people’s needs change. Be mindful of where you are on this spectrum and find a practice and teacher that works for you.

So it wouldn't really be fair of me to say that every yogi who posts fancy asana photos on Instagram are just doing it for the sake of vanity, competitiveness, etc. Some people just have more energy to burn, period. What I am trying to highlight however, is that because of the lavish praise & attention that these yogis gets, other yogis start to push their bodies past their limit just to get to that level of physicality. Which is totally besides the point of yoga asana.

Back to the topic. After teaching, attended a Dynamic Flow class at Fitness First, The Curve. All these different class names intrigue me. But I was never in the financial position, or rather, it was never a priority for me to pay to try out various classes, especially at gyms; unless I'm really sure I like a particular teacher's style. But yeah, I got in for free because members can bring a friend during the weekends. Woohoo, score! Thanks, Michelle! :P :P :P

It wasn't as dynamic as I thought it would be, in my mind I imagined a really sweaty, hard, Ashtanga-style class. But it was basically just a regular hatha vinyasa class with more than a few challenging poses. It is always interesting to be the student when you have to do a balancing pose for ten counts. Bahahahahahah! One of the reasons I enjoy being a student is that it really gets thrown in your face that there is so much more out there to learn, regardless of how long you have been teaching.

In the evening there was Iyengar Yoga. In the beginning I never really appreciated this particular style of yoga. It seemed too simple, & lacked the intensity of constant movement that I liked. But over time, I realized that Iyengar Yoga is so meticulous about alignment, which is again what I always give utmost importance to. & another thing that I overlooked is that it doesn't always take non-stop movement to cultivate strength & flexibility. Sometimes, just holding the pose for a longer period of time can be just as intense a workout as a vinyasa. Also, holding the poses allows enough time for our muscles to really lengthen out, as opposed to only holding a pose for a few breaths. Thirdly! Because we are required to hold the poses for so long, it gives the teacher enough time to go around the room adjusting everybody, making sure we are all doing it to the best of our capabilities.

Another thing I really love about Iyengar Yoga is the usage of props, especially the wall ropes. Today we did a few variations of Shirsasana & Adho Mukha Svanasana with them. It is certainly scary the first few times to place your trust in these ropes. It definitely worried me the first time the teacher said to 'go inside the rope, align it on your hips, bring your legs up straight on the wall, then soles of the feet touch each other in butterfly & slowly lower your torso down'! Again, I was like, 'Nooooooo! Dafuq!!! Do die me???'...bahahahahah! But it really is easier than it sounds. Those ropes will hold you in place, they will not fail you! I've discovered that inversions are definitely a challenge for me, especially when it comes to placing trust on external non-animated assistance! This was quite a surprising discovery, because I never had trouble being assisted by humans in inversions during teacher training.

But yeah, looking forward to more yoga immersions. Different styles have their own strengths to be added on to my internal yoga database.

Iyengar Yoga provides me with the knowledge of safety & proper alignment in the poses, at the same time I have someone to correct me in my poses. It is vital to sometimes have another pair of eyes watching you, no matter how far along in your practice you are.

Ashtanga Yoga gets the pitta side of me running a bit more, getting me out of my usual sloth-ish-ness. Bahahahahahah

& Yin Yoga balances out the Yang in me. So important as a woman to balance out the Yin & Yang. Physical exercise does influence our energetic bodies, so if one is constantly practising Yang-style yoga practices like the ones I've been doing, I think it is very important to incorporate a bit of Yin Yoga as well.

That's all for today. I must say though, I am really enjoying being a student once again. Being a teacher is an honour, but at the same time sometimes it is a burden. As a student, I get to totally relax & just totally go within myself, I never realized this but I am so much more playful & relaxed when in class as a student as opposed to when I am in class as a teacher. Even in the tough poses, I break into spontaneous giggles; somehow yoga asana, unlike everything else in my life, was never always a serious matter. Even the challenging parts brought up laughter, when the other students would be clenching their jaws concentrating on doing the pose. As a teacher, I have to put on a mask to ensure my students do their best. Meh. Maybe I just have to get used to it. Heheh.

I bought a button badge the other day which says, 'In teaching others, we teach ourselves'. I agree. In class, not only the student is learning, the teacher is also learning from the student. It is indeed an honour to be the vessel in which to spread the joy of yoga.

Namaste. Love & gratitude for all, always. <3

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