I always thought yoga was a bit shit to be honest. I enjoyed it enough to try a few classes here and there, do a bit when I was in a field or whatever, but it never properly stuck. In addition, over the years, all I saw on social media was an increasing amount of pretty and bendy girls flouncing around in 90 quid leggings, not really dancing and also not really exercising. Didn’t get it at all and wasn’t super psyched by any of the climbing related yoga content either, as I just couldn’t see the connection to how something so…soft, would increase flexibility AND strength, based upon the practices I was seeing. So I mostly just ignored it.
But, things sure do change and during the third lockdown of 2020 (which stared the very day of my birthday, yay!) as I was bouncing off the walls, trying to find some semblance of a daily routine, I got talking spirituality with an old friend who lived as a monk for 7 years in India which meant he was well versed in what would become my newest obsession.
He told me he yoga’d during that time; that it was hard, competitive and basically made you dench. I didn’t believe a word of it until he said Ashtanga and I remembered that time I got taken to a yoga class then couldn’t lift my arms above my head for a week. I thought the bottle of prosecco we drank afterwards may been the culprit of the evil DOMS, but….hold on, this must be the same thing!
So, on to YouTube I hopped and found some tutorials. Turns out this style of yoga IS absolutely nails and although I somehow winged my way through most of a Half Primary that day, I did not by any stretch of the imagination, do it well. Challenge accepted!
The thing about Ashtanga is that it’s a strict series of Asanas (postures) that must be learned and mastered in order, before moving on to the next one.
Between each Asana is a Vinyasa (The term vinyasa may be broken down into its Sanskritic roots to assist in decoding its meaning. Nyasa denotes "to place" and vi denotes "in a special way." Like many Sanskrit words, vinyasa is a term that has many meanings.) and in my opinion this is where is gets tricky.
According to David Swenson*, Vamana Rishi* says “Oh yogi, you must never practice Asana without Vinyasa” but to get the Vinyasa between asanas done correctly is a physical feat in itself.
When done well, the vinyasa is a smooth and beautiful way to transition between asanas, however, when done without proper technique it can simply deplete energy and make the whole practice drain the living soul out of you (or so it feels at times haha).
Oh, and there’s breathing involved too. Get that wrong and oh boy a faint is on the horizon (yep, tried it, seen way too many stars this year for my liking lol).
So, here we begin a glimpse into my ‘yoga journey so far’.
At the moment it’s pretty much me giving up the asanas and just trying to get the damned Surya Namaskars perfect, so, I’ll share some old footage until I’m bored of salutations, then we’ll get bendy again…stay tuned <3