Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yoga Weekend

As I write this, I am 3/5 through my weekend yoga workshop. So far we have done something called Ashtanga Primary Series, a challenging series of repeating poses including attempts at some pretty wild contortions, Improvisational Vinyasa, a modified style similar to the first workshop with a focus on twisting, and Breath, Bandhas, Backbending & Thai Yoga.

The last has been my favorite. We did lots of step by step instruction on leaping into poses and lots of partner poses.

It's been a long time since I've packed this much yoga into one week (much less one weekend). Luckily, my years of on again off again practice has left me with the right attitude to enjoy something like this weekend. I've practiced yoga for 14 years. At my most dedicated I did at least 5 hours per week for 3 years straight. At my least active, I might go 6 months without even doing 15 minutes of practice.

Currently, I'm practicing sporadically a few times a month. I may not be particularly bendy right now, but I have internalized a few key lessons. I think learning these kind of things are why some people claim yoga changes their lives.
Things yoga teaches you...
  1. Challenge yourself and you might be surprised at the results: I saw a lot of new stuff this weekend, and several times my first reaction was "Oh, no. I'm too out practice. My body won't do that." But, I tried, and I was surprised at the results.

  2. Don't compare yourself to other people: For some reason this is often the hardest for people to accept. I know I've had so much more fun this weekend because I can look over at the girl with her feet behind her ears and think "Good for you. Now back to trying to touch my toes."

  3. Be patient: In many sports you get better by powering through and pushing past your limits. Yoga doesn't work that way. You have to be tenacious, but over long sustained periods of time. You can't make it go faster, it goes at it's own pace.

Not me, obviously, but this is one of the new poses I surprised myself with today.

Here's what another surprise move looked like. I was the liftee, not the lifter.

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