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Self-practice for beginner

jetstream2010-07-04 15:37:12 +0000 #1
Hello - I'm a true beginner and have been going to a couple of classes (ashtanga and hatha) per week for a few weeks and practicing at home - I try to practice every day. When I have a good amount of time to practice I do 5 each of Surya Namaskara A and B before doing most of the seated forward bends from the primary series. I do this because I have been a runner for years and have comicly tight hamstrings!

I asked what I should try to do if I don't have much time (i.e. before an all-day shift) and was told to try to do 3 each of Surya Namaskara A and B then the last three finishing asanas. Different resources seem to have different finishing ansnas. Which should I do?

Also, is there a short answer as to whether I should run before or after yoga? I've been doing yoga before as it seems to make my running form, core activation, etc, much much better. I seam to float along!

Many thanks for any advice regarding my 'short-practices'.

InnerAthlete2010-07-04 15:52:26 +0000 #2
Hello David,

An answer about what you should do would be style-dependent. Different schools, lineage, styles would respond differently. A response from me would be one within a Purna Yoga construct thus flowing from BKS Iyengar, Sri Aurobindo, and my teacher Aadil Palkhivala. If you are studying in the Ashtanga system then an answer from an ashtanga teacher is most appropriate.

If I were to advise one of my students I would first want to know how much time they were talking about and what the intention or purpose of asana was for them. If it is merely the discipline to come to the mat each day then it may matter less what is done. Generally speaking there are several series in Purna Yoga including classical surya namaskar, the hip series, the opening series, the morning series, etcetera. I would most likely direct a student with little time to do a comprehensive opening series (or SN) then sirsasana (headstand) and sarvangasana (shoulderstand) followed by savasana. This presumes I've taught said student these poses AND they have the appropriate actions in their body to do them. Please finish whatever asanas you chose with savasana.

And this leads to question number two. Running comes before your practice. Asana ends by shifting the body's nervous system into a parasympathetic state. To get up and charge off after would be disruptive to the nerves - though most of us in western society are not sensitive enough to even feel it. Of course you may do them in whatever order you like. But this is the answer I can give in the yogic context.
A Better Me2010-07-04 15:46:36 +0000 #3

Might I suggest Mark Whitwell's CD, Real Yoga for Real People, it has a short documentary followed by either a 10 minutes practice or a 30 minute practice. I use it occasionally as I find Mark can change my focus and reinforces that as long as you are doing the Yoga that is right for you, that it is irrelevant what style you practice. (If you are familiar with my previous posts I struggle with this issue).

FYI Mark studied with Krishnamacharya and his son Desikachar, who have taught both P. Jois of Ashtanga Yoga and BKS Iyengar of the style of yoga called Iyangar Yoga.

His message is simple, and yet profound.

Best of luck.




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