Clouds In The Head

Project 2 my yoga practice
31 January, 2013, 8:49 am
Filed under: Daily maily

I’ve been putting it off forever but the time has come to start developing my own personal yoga practice. I’ve got a book (given to My Love by a student), lots of resources by such luminaries as Moyer, Iyengar, Farhi, Grzybowski, Yee, Walden, Corne. I’ve got mats, blankets, bolsters, belts, blocks and even as of Christmas (thanks Nini & Denis) a back bender I share with My Love.

And I’ve got injuries, difficulties, needs, attitudes …

What I don’t have, despite having a yoga teacher for a wife, is much of an idea about how to proceed. Donna Farhi talks about the necessity of developing one’s own practice and how surprisingly uncommon home practice is for students of regular classes. “While having a teacher’s guidance and outer direction is imperative at many stages of Yoga practice, we make a quantum leap when we begin to direct our own practice.” (I love that use of “quantum” – the tiniest difference in energy possible within an atom’s electron field is used to describe a massive change of state in the macro world.) Ms Farhi talks about the “inner guide” we have to trust, and lists the range of qualities that guide might have.

She makes it sound like an exciting, if at times difficult, adventure. “When we start to practice on our own [she uses the US spelling of “practice”], it is as if we light a fire under ourselves. This fire brings the deep essence of the teachings to the surface. Just as a rich stew, once eaten and digested, becomes a part of our body, when we practice on our own the teachings become a part of us.” She also advises to consider the inner teacher as separate to us, not only to ensure I/he turn up for class every day or so, but also to allow that inner guide not to simply or entirely be a projection of our own self vision. She suggests setting realistic goals, keeping a notebook, starting by following the style or practice of people you admire, incorporate other ideas to keep things fresh, not neglecting the other yoga limbs, making friends with your inner teacher …

“An empty room, a mat, our body, and focused awareness — these are the simple means we use to open to the wholeness that waits within.”

One more gift from the Farhi – all referencing her book Bringing Yoga To Life – is a wonderful chapter on “Intention”, which she likens to the paper upon which the words we are reading are written, structuring and enabling those words to exist. “I cannot stress enough the importance of setting an intention at the beginning of practice, for this sets the stage for all that will follow.”

where it happens

where it happens

I’ll follow up on “intention” later. What might some intentions be? How can one hold onto them? How different might a class with or without an intention feel?

For the moment, given my sprained wrist, I’m gong to start with Donald Moyer’s “Three Diaphragms” practice – leaving out the poses that might hurt my wrist and adding to the poses that won’t. It’ll be about a half hour class and I’ll throw in my first go on the back bender along the way. My intention will be to listen carefully to my body and “be” in the pose with certainty rather than trying to go too far.

Wish me luck.

Update on Project 1 my posture. The hard part is realising and then re-connecting to the better posture – “OMFG I’m all slouchy, wait on, er, let’s see, pelvis, hips, front body, sacrum, er, and I was making tea wasn’t I?” Hopefully the shift will become automatic before too long.


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