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New to yoga....a few questions.

Summer Fromance2010-07-05 00:56:40 +0000 #1
I've done conventional stretching for a few years now, as I've always been pretty athletic. about a month ago, a friend and I made a pact to learn to do a handstand, which in turn led me to yoga. after I read up on it, I was hooked.

I recently started ashtanga yoga and I must say, it's alot tougher than I thought. I have no problem making a slow progression, but perhaps I should try another style?

primarily, balance and flexibility are goals, and a close 2nd would be the breathing, meditation, and relaxation (I've also been doing "conventional" meditation for a few years now). I injured my back a few years ago, and although I'm 100% healed, flexibility in my back suffered from being out of commission for so long, so anything that would benefit me in that department would help immensely.

any tips, suggestions, or input would be great. Thanks.
sarahy2010-07-05 01:01:00 +0000 #2
speaking as an ashtangi, stick with ashtanga. that is my opinion only and many would disagree with me. however, perhaps a more 'correct' answer would be 'look until you find what fits you'. however, from my experience with ashtanga it is challenging, yes! it also will definately help with balance and flexibility, with the added fringe benefits of breathing, meditation and relaxation. also, once you become proficient in the primary series, it does include handstands in between navasanas.

many i have spoken to have said...'i dabbled in yoga and then i found ashtanga, and it just changed everything'. if that is not how you feel than keep looking. but again, as an ashtangi i would say give it the benefit of the doubt and keep working at it!

s
Pandara2010-07-05 01:27:31 +0000 #3
Hi Sarahy,

I once read and I cannot remember in which book, that you have to stick to a chosen yoga path at least for two years before you change to another. First see where it takes you, when I started yoga years ago I changed because I found the plain old and simple hatha not so glamorous. I then changed to Inyengar, fortunately I realised very soon it was a big mistake and changed back to my teacher and hatha. I then decided to stick with her and her teachings as long as it is possible and the discipline was well worth it.
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 02:06:15 +0000 #4
Hello Summer.

Why is it you propose a change in styles?

One of the skills I've worked toward as a teacher is an ability to speak to a variety of things and do so within a yogic context. In the case of a reply to you, and many others, I do so within the construct of my training in Purna Yoga.

The practice a student chooses should, ultimately, serve their life or life's purpose. If a certain practice (no matter which one, which temperature, which sequences, which chanting) only makes your muscles lean, only opens your pores, only allows you to tip your pelvis, only lengthens the hamstrings, then it is very likely (when it is done over time) that this is not the appropriate YOGA practice for a human being. After all, yoga should facilitate evolution.

If you are the same cranky cuss to your spouse, the same sarcastic co-worker, the same person flipping off that guy in the SUV who just cut you off in the left lane of the freeway then it is highly likely your practice is not serving you. At that point it is time to weigh a change either in teachers or in styles.

To evaluate your practice and how it fits, consider how you feel from your practice. Consider what residue is left in your body just after your practice. Consider this while connecting with the heart rather than using the rational mind (which would tell you how great your muscles and pores feel and how powerful and evolved you are).

Balance and flexibility can be found under many rocks, as can relaxation. Breathing is a prerequisite. Meditation is essential.

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