Saturday, October 10, 2015

What Is Yoga To You?

Sadhguru on The Dangers Of Improper Yoga.

I've never really fully paid attention to this crazy-looking person, but the past few days he's really come to the forefront! & this video in particular really resonates with me!

Dear brothers & sisters, I know I may sometimes come across as a naggy woman, but believe me I do not want to take even the slightest risk of people getting injured in my classes. No, not on my watch.

I have had knee pain on my left leg since God-knows-when, I started noticing it a few years ago, way before I started yoga - nothing during movement, instead when I sit in cramped spaces like in public transport, that knee gets a bit funny. & even till now, if I get too carried away with certain dance movements, or lose awareness of my leg alignments, the knee will definitely cry out in rebellion again, hahahahah!

So forgive me when I say, 'press the outer edge of your back foot firm onto the ground' for the 250th time in the hour! I know what it is like to have a chronic injury, & I would not wish it on anyone.

Similarly, I always go on about the importance of practising proper yoga. Alignment, alignment, alignment. Although recently I've been exposed to traditional hatha yoga as taught by Gurumukh-ji, where how your body feels is more important than alignment, I still believe that importance should be more on right alignment. The reason being sometimes we don't even know what is good for ourselves (bahahahah getting philosophical again!) - sometimes we are only comfortable doing things a certain way because that's how we've always been doing it - & the way in which we are accustomed to doing it may not always be the best way to go about it!

A good example that Deep used to give in class: if you were to pick up a bucket of water with your right hand, do you walk up to the bucket, stand next to it, mentally telling yourself while going for the bucket, 'Tadasana! Bend knees! Lengthen spine! Extend right arm! No hyper-extension of elbow! Grab bucket! Use leg & core muscles! Straighten legs!', or do you merely go & pick up the bloody bucket however you damn well wish to??? Hahahahahah!

But aha, now the catch! If when you pick up the bucket, your back is rounded, your legs straight, & you are using your back muscles; don't be surprised if you begin to develop back aches!

You see what I'm trying to say? It is well & good to be natural, to be organic, but at the same time we need to maintain awareness on how we are doing things.

But enough of physical concerns. Let's talk about the effects of yoga on our energetic body.

I've always been going on & on (again, hahahahah!) about how the type of exercise you do affects your energetic body. In all types of physical exercise, but especially when it comes to yoga, we need to make sure that we are doing the poses in the right way, in the right amount. Balance is key to everything, & so it is with asana. This is also one of the reasons most of my classes don't incorporate fancy asana. Yang practices must be balanced with equal proportions of yin, & vice versa. Always maintain awareness of how your physical activities are affecting your energetic body. How has it affected you & how you relate to the world? Is it benefiting you?

The aim of yoga asana is not to achieve acrobat status. It is a tool to bring us back to the present, to bring awareness back to ourselves, to look deeper within ourselves. That being said, it is only the fourth limb of yoga. Why did Patanjali put asana as the fourth out of eight steps towards Samadhi (Union)? Simple - because if you were having diarrhoea, would you be able to sit quietly on your yoga mat for even ten minutes? :P :P :P

A healthy body is a vital component towards meditation!

I acknowledge that there are so many yoga asanas for us to play around with, simply because different people have different physicalities. Some have more energy to burn, some less - this is a fact of life. I can't run without feeling like a fish out of water after the first one minute, but there was this one time Gobuyan & I were having a conversation over the phone & after about a minute I hear his footsteps on the other side & I'm like, 'Fuck me, you running ah??? How the hell do you do that???' Bahahahahah! That being said, there's no point forcing yourself to achieve fancy poses if your body is not ready or not meant to, or if it is negatively affecting your energetic body. Honour your body & your capabilities, do not try to live up to unrealistic ideals of how your body should or should not be.

I love what Sadhguru says, 'Normal means like this *fingers down*. Yoga means like this *fingers up*, for most people. To stand on your feet, that is not yoga. You must stand on your head, that is yoga!' Bahahahahahah!

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