I have thought about recapping my year but as I look back I see that the blog became a lot more about eagles than my practice. Of course, now my practice is also eagles but this blog is about yoga, so for next year, less eagles. Also, instead of looking back I am looking forward. So this blog will go back to it’s initial focus, MY PRACTICE. PERIOD. But I am leaving the eagle flying in for the background because the eagle is my spirit brother.
In the past year my practice has had it’s ups and downs but as a very wise and young teacher said to me recently, Miss SB, the practice is the teacher, I am even more convinced that that is the truth.
When practice ebbs and flows, and slows and stops, it remains a reflection of the mind patterns. And yoga is about settling the mind patterns. The mind is like an out of control child that has to be punished. The mind, however, punishes itself. The practice of asana reflects the mind patterns, not the reverse. And the breath pattern is an extra clue on how the mind is working. Once prana is under control, you are ready for the higher limbs.
In Light on Yoga Iyengar says the problem with modern yoga is the desire for immediate results, instant gratification, and a reverence for the tradition. These values are antithetical to our Western values. All of how we measure success is based on these exact criteria and many are resistant to try it the other way.
My yoga practice this past year reflected mind patterns. Often my yoga was stress or exhaustion. This is neither a good breath or mind pattern and the asana practice does not hide anything.
So I went back to a more traditional practice that does not allow me to wander through poses I like or ignore those I don’t. The pattern is set to be followed the way it is sequenced. Traditionally the Ashtanga yoga system does not allow you to go to the next pose until you have mastered the preceding one. The type of system serves me the best because it requires mental discipline as well as physical.
The Bikram system does this quite well. The system is structured and disciplined and you master the 26 poses. And if you feel you have mastered a pose, there are the ‘champions’ who remind you that you did not.
Go back to pranayama breathing and start over.
A lot of yogis do not feel there should be a yoga championship or yoga competition but I have to say I am a bit enamored of the champions. I love looking at the pictures.
In a set sequence the bad and good days are more pronounced. I had a very good day on Thursday and felt….optimistic. Today I had a not so great practice and was frustrated. But today I am tired and a little stressed out.
And I REALLY want to do this pose:
So I will post more on the New Year but I am on eagle watch this weekend. There are two hatchlings due Monday through next Thursday for Ozzie and Harriet. I am vigilant. And will practice.