Friday, November 20, 2015

Abhyasa - Practice & All Is Coming.

I enjoy creating non-existent words to express myself - it's 'allowed' in Manglish! - words like nicer-er (so much nicer), or ter-confuse (accidentally confused, hahahahah!), etc. I'm sure the language prudes out there would disagree with my speaking methods, but it's all just for a bit of fun, really. PLUS, sometimes it can really shorten a sentence!

Just a few basic examples of how Manglish can shorten sentences:

Can you or can you not do it?
Can or cannot woh? (This is one of my Aussie friend, Amy's favourites!)

Why are you crying/laughing/singing/doing-whatever-the-hell-you're-doing?
Why woh?

Why do you want me to do this for you?
Why ah?

You see! Saves time & energy! Hahahahahahah!

The other day in class, I unintentionally created a new word. I said, '...feel the spine lengthening & stretchening,' bahahahahahah! This was the first time I'd ever caught myself off guard, & at least the students who got it had a good laugh! Hahahahah! I myself had to struggle to suppress giggles for the next ten minutes, especially since it was a yin yoga class!

Besides the physical aspect of asana, what do you value about your yoga practice?

If I attend a yoga class (as a student), I am prone to laughing for no apparent reason. Yes, don't worry, I think I'm a very strange one too! :P

I feel that sometimes yoga is taken too seriously. You go to a class & everybody's stone-faced from either self-pressure or pressure from the teacher to 'perform' well. Or that might just be their 'inner bliss face', I don't know. Who am I to judge anyways, because I myself have what they call a 'bitchy resting face', hahahahah! :P

But it is quite shocking to me how some people are so serious about their asana practice that they can't even smile or laugh with others! If you can't smile or laugh, how relaxed are you to begin with?

Earlier this year I was recommended to start an Ashtanga practice, so I skipped over to the nearest Mysore centre, not really sure what to expect. & as most of you will know, Asthanga is famous for its ultra-sweaty vinyasa flow, which for me meant lots of chaturangas! *horror face*

I was doing fine in the standing asanas. When it came to the seated asanas, however...hooo! NOW, the laughter begins! In the practice, you have to take a vinyasa between forward bends on either leg (so for example Janu Sirsasana A with right leg bent, then one vinyasa before you go to the pose with left leg bent), & in my mind I was like, 'Homaigot! Teacher, you mad or what, why you do die me, noooooooo! Why you don't say do both sides then only vinyasaaa!'...LMAO! I did not expect to be doing vinyasas that many times!

That was the very first time I was a newbie in a new place, & not taking myself too seriously.

Asana practice can be empowering, yet it can also be a very humbling experience. I personally feel that the challenge in Ashtanga yoga is to accept the totality of yourself: your uniqueness & limitations - the latter being the more difficult to accept. Receiving adjustments & help from the teacher to go into a pose is all well & good, but at the same time we need to honour our bodies too - would it be too much to use a strap or towel to connect the hands in  Marichyasana? Or does it make more sense to have someone pull on your joints & soft tissues to 'help' you into the pose?

I really appreciate what Simon Borg-Olivier's idea about yoga. To him, yoga should get the blood is flowing freely throughout the body, whilst maintaining a normal heart rate. Therefore, if the limbs do not move naturally into a pose, if you need external assistance (in the form of another another person or even your own hand), if you are straining & exerting yourself into a pose, then yoga is not happening, & you may as well just call it 'exercise' instead of 'yoga'.

Dear friends, I'm not condemning any school of yoga. What I am trying to convey is that we need to practice humility & patience on the mat. Cannot bind the arms today - so what? Cannot do 238 chaturagas in a session - so what? Is it more worthwhile to risk your body for a moment's worth of satisfaction?

Me, I just laugh. Hahahahah... :P :P :P

I think sometimes it does annoy some teachers, but I try my best, & if after that I still can't do it, or it is too difficult for me, I ease off the pose a little & try not to laugh.

As Ashtanga founder, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois said, 'Practice, & all is coming.'

& as Deep once said, 'Be sincere, but not serious in your practice.'

Of course, there are times when seriousness has to come into play, but if things already are a certain way, then why put up a fight, why struggle unnecessarily?

To my beloved students, if you sometimes see me laughing in class, I am not laughing at you. I am laughing because I am remembering all the times when I could not do a pose. I am laughing because it makes me happy that you have allowed me to share this space in your yoga journey. I am laughing because I know you are trying your darnest best.

All the better if you start laughing on your own, or join me in laughter!

There is no 'should be' or 'must do' in class...if your mind & body are not up to it, then don't listen to anyone else, not even me.

No one else is responsible for you, except you.

So please come to class to practice sincerely! Bahahahahahah! :D :D :D

& also come to class to feel lengthening & stretchening of your body! Hahahahahah...LMAO!

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