Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ashtanga types (bandwagon) What about the Home Ashtangi?

home shala
There's been lots of curfuffle going on over at  the confluence countdown re Ashtanag types, only glanced through the post itself for the general gist of the idea (bit silly) but there are some wonderful comments on the post, some that shed a different light (still positive but a different perspective) on visiting Mysore.

I've mentioned here before that going to Mysore has never felt particularly relevant to me personally, something to do with being a home Ashtangi perhaps.

That said it would be nice to be in Mysore itself, see where Krishnamacharya taught (in the old 'British' palace), the hills he practiced in for the classic B and W video etc. And of course it would be great to see too Pattabhi Jois' old shala and, why not, practice for a few of weeks in the company of others so committed to the practice that they chose to make the trip. Always good to take yourself away from everything where you can just focus on all aspects of practice and why not make it Mysore. I'm not concerned with 'getting postures' or adjustments or assists either getting them or the lack of them  (never had em, never missed em). I'm happy to practice even half primary for a month and be nice to practice along to Sharath's count on Friday's.

It would be nice to do, I've spent a lot of years traveling but never made it to India, although I'd prefer to get a month train pass, travel all over and lay down my mat wherever I happen to find myself each morning.

There are  minor things that put me off going too of course (and seem more insignificant each year), not important in and of themselves but perhaps lean me towards not going, the cost of the trip (was planning on going this year until I saw how expensive it would work out, decided on Crete with Manju instead), the time away from M., perhaps TOO many Ashtangi's in the same town (what is it three hundred or so peak period?), the supposed rush to get mat space each morning (I'd rather practice on the steps outside)... But truth be told I'm just not a Shala Ashtangi (although a month or two with Manju in Encinitas is appealing, small classes supposedly, bit like the 70's perhaps), so less of a draw for me personally. I enjoy solo practice, my own space, my own energy for motivation, my own air to breath rather that of eighty others , I like to breathe slowly and I like to practice pranayama and meditation following my asana practice rather than having to rush off home to do them ....small things and it's only a month, still they add up and tip the balance somewhat.

Maybe it's because it's expected and
I like to buck the trend, 
I'll go when the rugs are damp and threadbare
and Sharath in a spacious sunday conference
whispers
" ...nobody visits Mysore".

However should the opportunity came up, a good chance to go, I'd make the trip, be nice to practice with a few loved friends I've made through here.

"Just not a shala yogi.." which brings me back to the types of Ashtangi subject. Coffee drunk....and done it's job, time to practice so I'll just cut and paste my comments in from FB and get to the Mat.

This will be my fifth full practice in a row, it's coming back perhaps- Update: added on ustrasana and kapo after dropbacks just to see...
........

RE the two types of Ashtangi
http://theconfluencecountdown.com/2013/07/29/the-two-types-of-ashtanga/

Anthony Grim Hall Haven't read this but does the Home Ashtangi fit into the Mysore group of the shala group?
11 hours ago

Anthony Grim Hall Just glanced through it, bit silly but some interesting points in the comments. To play the binary opposite game perhaps the home Ashtangi fits somewhere in the middle, we aim perhaps for the 'Mysore style', no props and without modifications but are happy to employ props and modifications ('shala style') along the way and in place of the assists that are unavailable to us at home. Always like the idea of a shala as a slightly stricter, slightly more formal version of home practice (no faffing) and Mysore itself as performance, bringing our best practice day in day out for a month or three but then what do I know, haven't been to a shala more than twice or Mysore at all.....yet
10 hours ago

for context see...

Confluence Countdown
Two Yoga Types

Serene Flavorful 
Shala Visits

Small Blue pearls

Flexible Minds

Shala Visits Redux

Yoga in the Dragon's Den
There are only twelve Ashtangi models; or, what Battlestar Galactica might teach us about Ashtanga

**************

UPDATE: Nice piece from David Garrigues in Elephant journal

You Want to Know What Inspires Me? 
I've chosen a couple of quotes below but best to click on the link to Elephant above and read the full article (not so long) to put this into context

Joy asks

J: "...I’ve gone months, dare I say years, without being inspired, but you, my daily teacher and my home studio, help me get through those cycles. You wake up at 4 a.m. in the winter, practice in our kitchen, and still have maintained a daily practice since ’93. So what helps you get through those times of challenge? What keeps you inspired?"


"DG: ...Also, you aren’t going to believe it, but practicing alone, by myself, does inspire me in its own way. It is a very different inspiration than attending a class with a teacher. But, as I often point out to many students who have a home practice, the sacred texts say that yoga is to be practiced alone. I take that to heart because I have to, and it does suit me.I can tell you this: you wouldn’t want me as your student. Ha! All joking aside, I do genuinely like practicing by myself. I find that important things happen for me when I practice in solitude, without anyone else around.

(Joy gives incredulous look.)"

And this on losing and regaining his practice, great for me to read just now as I work on getting my practice back.


"DG: But part of the value of having a practice at all, is the sobering experience of being shown the consequences of your choices directly in your body. But also you have the opportunity to be inspired by what you learn about your self through the challenges and failures that come up for you. You return to the mat again with renewed inspiration, vigor and humility. It may not seem like it because I’m such a diehard Ashtangi, but I have battled with consistency, commitment and dedication to my practice even though I have always maintained a daily practice for the past 20 years.

So what I’m revealing may seem contradictory, but I am referring to the times when my fire, passion and real care were missing from my practice. It’s true that just getting on your mat each day (in any capacity) is positive, and is far better than not doing anything, but to extract the wisdom and soul from practice requires a tremendous amount of energy from you and is more than just simply going through the motions of a series.

So what I’ve concluded from these experiences is that it seems to me that each of us must go through cycles of losing focus on the things that are truly most important to us. Apparently, we must be wounded by this type of failure, and having a practice shows us how to learn from it and heal and thus gain wisdom. I personally have been able to become inspired again, to recommit to my practice, to pick it up again each time I lose focus regardless of how different it may be compared to where it used to be. Now, partly my inspiration comes from cherishing what I can do now. I know from painful experience what happens when I don’t stay focused, and this helps me to bring real energy each day to my practice."


4 comments:

  1. Encinitas is great! I've always thought that an extended visit there at Tim's shala was a perfect winter vacation. Close enough to San Diego for day trips but still a somewhat sleepy old California beach town. In the end I may end up back in Santa Barbara so I can see friends and practice at my old shala... all of this is to say that even though India calls me, California is a lot easier.

    Glad your practice is on the mend. These times away can yield really rich fruit. My yoga freak out of this past winter was incredibly beneficial. Oddly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's temptingLlaura, Claudia mentioned that Manju's classes in Encinitas are pretty small (or they were when she was there) shhhh. Imagine a class of twelve or less with Manju, sometimes, eight even three that sounds just like those descriptions of the early days with his father....would be interesting to be in that situation for a month. Sleepy old beach town and Tim's just down the road for some moonlighting, sounds perfect.

    have updated the post with some quote's from David's Elephant article

    ReplyDelete
  3. Come to India! The yogis focus on Mysore is so myopic!
    Take a train and watch through your window the morning light rising over temples, their lamps already lit, their prayers already rising to meet the day --- and understand bakti yoga. Visit the mountains and meet the sadhu who has stood on one leg for years and years---- and catch a glimpse of what it really means to move beyond the body. Wander through Varanasi, seeing the faithful letting go of the dead and FEEL in your body the impermanence of life. Be welcomed into a strangers home and as they place before you food from their meager supplies, understand what it truly means to believe that we are all one, that the purusha resides in each of us and we are connected. Watch the wandering sadhus, their saffron robes dotting the landscape from Kanyakumari to the Himalayas and begin to see what "vairaghya" actually entails and how controlling the "vasanas" means great sacrifice.
    Brave the heat and crowds, the dirty and poverty and learn acceptance. Get stuck in traffic and learn patience. Watch the modern India chasing after all Western juxtaposed against the ancient and learn"viveka". Visit temples, the large ones, and the small ones which are often just threads tied to trees and begin to see the power of "sraddha"
    This world that you are exploring through books and lessons and are so wonderfully and generously sharing with us, is alive in India. You have to search for it and sometimes it is just energy but it lives!
    (Sorry, just did some train travel and it has renewed my love for my country)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely comment Rani Thank you,

      yes yes YES.

      Be nice to pop into Mysore while travelling around but India! What if I only ever made it once, just Mysore???? That said there is something to be said for staying in one place for an extended period rather than just passing through, and scratching the surface but not perhaps Gokulum.

      You make me want to go NOW.

      Just finished work, on holiday now : ) Fly to Crete tomorrow.

      Delete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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