Monday, October 24, 2011

Tea and Yoga Practice

I like this simple expression of tea and yoga:
... Tea helps build the connection to ourselves and to those around us. Tea helps achieving relaxation, bringing harmony and connecting with each-other as a family. In addition to the positive mental connections to drinking Tea, the beneficial properties of Tea builds on those that you receive from practicing yoga.
(read whole article here)

Monday, October 10, 2011

My new Ashtanga Mysore class experience

This month, I just began my small-class training in the Ashtanga Mysore style with a local certificated instructor.
  • The teacher stopped me at the point of Marici C, because I could not bind with joint hands on my right knee (I can do it on the left side though)!
  • So, I'm now stucking with this asana and trying to accomplish it on my right side.
  • In the Ashtanga tradition, asana sequence is strictly followed. A beginner is introduced one asana at a time, and until you accomplish that asana, you are not allowed to proceed to the next. However, all finishing asanas are encouraged, which usually include the Sarvanga (Shoulder stand) series, Shirsha (Head stand) series and the Padma series plus Shavasana. Modifications are given (only) when you have injuries preventing you to do the full pose.
  • This is exactly the case in the class I'm attending. The teacher encourages not only finishing poses but also backbend practice.
  • The small sized class is entense for me for now.
  • The teacher makes sure all the time that the students are following the sequence -- which means no skips, no changing order, and NO modifications!
  • If you can't do an asana, you learn how to do it.
  • Into the 2nd week (I'm attending a 3 times/week schedule), my right knee pain got severe to a point that I can't do any lotus. I can't even do Janu-shirsha on my right side.
  • I think it was the standing Ardah-baddha-padma asana and a deep full lotus (was the deepest I've never attempted) at the end of one session literally killed my right knee -- I had previous similar experience, but usually recover by itself in a few days so I think this time it's really serious.
  • So, for the rest of the week day classes, I was given "modification" as said, but it is not the thing you will do in a so called "modified primary" class in popular yoga center. Here, I was still asked to do THE pose in the same manner, but using props and stopping at the point of pain. As for Ardha-baddha-padma, I was still crossing my right leg but put the right foot to the outside of the left thigh. Using a large rubber band, get my right hand bind with the righ foot, and bend upper body after ensuring right hip opening (right knee point straight downwards).
  • The difference between "stretching" and "tearing" -- the latter should be avoide at all expense.
More on the knee pain
  • The pain IS a result of practicing yoga asana, and not because of doing other sport activities or from whatever incidence - this is no doubt. But that still doesn't mean that the yoga asana caused the pain. It has to be because I tried to get the knee into deep lotus before having the hip join fully opens.
  • I would emphasize that the pain is NOT an injury, because full range of motion is still there; plus, I don't feel pain by doing daily body movement, such as walking, sitting, and jumping up... It only felt when doing the specific asana posture - for me now, any lotus. I can't even do Janu-shirsha on my right side; and when seated with knee fully folded underneath, will have sensation of pain in the right knee, especially when putting more weight on it. On the third day, getting into deep squat also became difficult, though I could still manage to do that. Once getting into the deep squat, the pain relieves. The situation will also improve after warm-up with a few rounds of Sun Salute.
  • It's now clear to me that the knee, though being a hinge join, does allow some range of motion to let the fore leg flip inward (sole up, shin on top of the opposite groin). But this very allowance should be well conserved, because it can give an illusion that you can put your legs in lotus, but actually not in a safe and wory-free manner. The pain, or in other words, injury of ligarment, will not immediately show up at the time and even shortly after doing deep lotus. It usually comes on the next day, and the situation will only go worsen and a period of healing time will be required and how long will depends on how much you get injured or varies person to person. I'm right now keeping a record on seeing how many days it will take me to have all the pain gone and be able to do lotus again.