After teaching half led primary to a wonderful group of 17 people on a Saturday morning, one of the students asked me if I added something new to the sequence. The truth is I didn’t; of course I didn’t! Who am I to add anything to a perfect system? But, in fact, I have been teaching a few asanas that I was avoiding in classes I taught before my trip to Mysore. Ever since I started teaching yoga, all I wanted to do was share the practice of Ashtanga yoga. When you’re determined to teach Ashtanga (half) primary series in a one-hour class, you might be limited with how much of the sequence you can teach depending on the flow of class (time runs out quickly!). The classes I currently teach are in a group exercise studio, where yoga is taught only 4 times a week (2 of them are Ashtanga). So, I aim to keep practice suitable for beginners as well as the more experienced practitioners.
For the longest time, I avoided teaching Janu Sirsasana C, Marichasana B and D simply because a lot of people were shocked at the sight of these asanas being demonstrated. These intense asanas can be intimidating, but correct method shows you that there is a way to be able to do these asanas. The beauty of Ashtanga yoga asana is the simplicity in practicing it: get on your mat and practice. It all begins with pure intentions and faith – in yourself and in the practice. Correct method means following the sequence to the dot, but stopping at the asana that is a big challenge for you, that is simply not possible to do. There is no need to jump from one asana to the other without overcoming obstacles in your practice. It is not going to do you any good to avoid the challenging asanas. Ashtanga yoga is a sacred system, and not only in a spiritual sense. It is sacred because it is a system that works, if practiced properly. My student’s comment is an example of how this system works. Although Janu Sirsasana C, Marichi B and D were challenging for him, and were asanas that he never practiced before, he accepted the challenge, embraced the opportunity to learn and appreciated the practice even more. He said “I like traditional. Traditional is better!”. Bless.
The following day, another student updated her Facebook status with the most adorable and inspirational post. Alberta shared:
From the state of my yoga mat, all scraped and with nail varnish marks, anybody would think it is a battle ground…well…it is actually…that’s where I challenge my body to do all the stuff it does not want to do.
Your practice is your time to challenge yourself. No one is judging you, and anything is possible. Just give things time to unfold. “Practice, all is coming”.