17 thoughts on “cyber shala post-practice chat, please drop by and say hello!

  1. maya Post author

    I had three fairly decent practices this week and was all ready to do a fourth today, but was hit with Lady’s Holiday like a mack truck to the uterus instead. I did do the surys, but that was it.

    This week, I’ve been finding myself think about striving vs. maintaining, or possibly it is working hard in the practice (as in this post by Stacey Ingham about a recent David Garrigues workshop) vs. pleasure in the practice (as described by me in this post about the first David Williams workshop I went to). Maybe it’s my age but I find whenever I strive, I get injured pretty quickly, little tweaks or bigger ones. Maybe I’m striving poorly. When I follow David William’s advice and practice at 60% and make each practice as pleasurable as possible, I enjoy it more (and find it easier to get to the mat the next time), but it also has less challenge–and I find challenge motivating sometimes. It’s easy to say “it’s a balance” but I feel like it’s more a pendulum, or a carnival ride! Anyway, this week I’ve been pondering how I feel guilty when I don’t practice hard enough, and finding myself defending my easy going practice, haha. Not looking for attagirls, just noticing the stream of thoughts….

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  2. Pamela

    I only practiced twice this week and I’m probably only going to get to a quickie today, too.

    I could have written your comment, Maya. I always want to push myself. When I first started practice I would get frustrated that I couldn’t do things and wish I’d started yoga earlier so I could do it already. (This theme of impatience with the journey, get me to the destination already, appears in other areas of my life. hehe)

    But I inevitably tweak something and then have to pull back again. I turned 50 at the end of last year and I’m constantly quizzing myself whether I’m honoring an aging body or using that as an excuse. Aging body is real.

    I’m going to be on a trip for 2 weeks, my Auntie is turning 90 so I’m going to Germany with my sister. No practice but I will get back to it and check with the cyber shala when I return.

    Hope everyone has some good practice while I’m gone.

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    1. maya Post author

      Pamela, I’m struck by your “aging body is real”. Part of me goes, “Freaking-A, I know, right?” On the other hand, I think of this video, an interview with Gillian Lynn, an 87 year old choreographer who says, “You must not give aging an inch!” She’s amazing.

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  3. Riana

    Hello, I’m happy to have found you. I am about to begin my own home practice in the next week. I prepared a space for this yesterday, and I have been spending the better part of this morning trying to figure out just how I was going to begin. I have been a fairly dedicated Bikram (hot) yoga practitioner for over five years now, and while I plan on continuing to practice Bikram’s 26 asana series in a studio regularly, I have been wanting more. I have wanted to switch to Ashtanga periodically, but I have never contacted the local shala, because I simply can’t afford it. I walk by the beautiful space and look in the window longingly, on occasion. It’s my Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’ve loved reading your posts today. I look forward to being in touch. Thanks so much for being out there communicating.

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    1. maya Post author

      Welcome Riana! Great thing about the cybershala, once you’ve got a computer with internet, the rest is free. 🙂

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  4. henry

    I returned to the Primary Series yesterday for the first time in almost a month. I made it to Navasana, my normal stopping point, with heavily modified Marichyasanas. I practice an hour every morning 5 to 6 days a week, but in the last few weeks I mostly did the Bikram sequence, to be brutally honest.

    I gave myself tennis elbow in both arms in August preparing to learn to jump through. I decided to give my arms an extended break. Thank you, by the way, for recommending the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, which helped me a great deal this week.

    I have been practicing yoga for 2 years, doing mostly Ashtanga for the last year. As a 46 yr old, I have been wondering if I will be able to accomplish all of the Primary Series before I have to switch from advancing my practice to maintaining it. I had been inactive most of my life, so I have had a lot of stiffness to overcome.

    I have yet to go to an Ashtanga class, relying on YouTube and the Maria Villella Primary Series Video so far. I keep putting it off, but I know I am overdue for some personalized instruction, especially in light of my impatience.

    Your blog is my favorite- I have read all of you posts regarding your practice; they have helped me more than you could know.

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    1. maya Post author

      Hi Henry! That’s so cool you liked the Trigger Point book! That book is awesome, has saved my bacon more times than I can count. I’m humbled and delighted that you’ve read some of my back posts, and thrilled that you’ve gotten something out of them. Please stop by, Bikram or Ashtanga, whatever, it’s fine, having a home practice is hard. You’ve got to have peeps to help keep you in the game.

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  5. RebeccaBerlin

    I made it to the mat every day this week & did full primary (though modified for two days due to sore arms from last week’s rock climbing effort)! but today I am sort of laying about unable to do anything but drink chai.

    About the question raised in a way by both Maya and Henry: is there a point when (in your 40s? 50s? 60s?) you no longer are adding to your practice but just hoping to maintain? This is related to the question of what degree of effort is optimal… Personally, I don’t really know the answers (!) but I think it does vary: sometimes I’m maintaining, but sometimes adding to the practice. And it may not always look from the outside as if that’s what I’m doing. You can be going deeper into breath, focus, bandhas, etc. while doing very little at the gross physical level–and then the asanas can also surprise you, at any age, when you have a patient practice.

    In my own practice, the times I’ve gotten injured seem to have to do with a slip of attention — and during that slip, I’ve somehow pushed too hard or irritably ignored something. But maybe there are also times when I’ve pushed and gotten away with it. Maybe it depends on the quality of the pushing, which can also be a form of aspiration. I think it’s a paradox: you want to accept things are they are, and make a space for that, but you also are looking for transformation within that. …

    I wanted to share this post on home practice from Angela Jamison, “How to Practice at Home.” In particular, the tip about being careful always to initiate every single movement with the breath (preceding movement even by a quarter of a second beforea the physical asana begins) is really helpful. I realize I fudge on this sometimes

    http://www.ashtangaannarbor.com/wordpress/2013/12/11/how-to-practice-by-yourself/ [sorry I don’t know how to make a hyperlink here]

    thanks for the practice blog!

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    1. maya Post author

      Rebecca, you know, I asked David Williams at one point when he stopped doing the advanced series and he said 50. Now he does Primary and swims. (He might throw down the occasional bad-ass asana, for all I know, but that’s his usual practice, or so he said at the time, this was a couple of years ago.) I think he’s in his sixties now. What degree of effort is optimal, yes that’s a way to put it. Probably different every day, haha.

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  6. louise

    Scooting on in a few days late but pleased to say, nay, sing, that I am back to practice again. It’s terrifying how stiff I seem to be but I’ve been here before and a week of practice oils my wheels.
    I love Angela’s Home Practice tips. In particular the dedication to starting your practice before starting your practice. I’m learning to commit to it before I sleep and then get straight to the mat after a coconut oil mouthwash. Have you tried it yet? It’s an ayurvedic dental technique for pulling the bacteria from your mouth and I find it so energising. I thought I imagined it but I think it is real!?
    See y’all on Friday…

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  7. Rebecca

    Argh – I’m not sure I can do the coconut oil mouthwash or “pulling,” which I saw a how-to video about once. Apparently it’s a big thing. What are the benefits? And how does this intersect with the drinking of tea pre-practice?

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    1. maya Post author

      UGH, why isn’t my blog doing threaded comments? Is this a setting somewhere? I don’t like having a lump of MAYA comments, they’re supposed to be fitting in after each one, looks stupid like this. /complaint

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        1. louise

          The coconut oil has to be the first thing you put in your mouth as it collects all the toxins that your body produces overnight (apparently)
          Putting a spoonful of hard white lardy looking paste in my mouth is the worst bit. The oil is rarely warm enough to melt in this climate. I almost spit it out but after a moment it’s become quite pleasurable and my thoughts go hmmmm yuck, oh okay, hang on, it’s kind of coconutty, squoosh squoosh, hmm, I’m waking up now and then I go and pull faces at the Mr, do a few chores whilst squooshing away and in the end feel quite reluctant to spit it out in the bin. Then I rinse my mouth with water, brush my teeth and then have a cup of tea. I would say the benefits are more energy, brighter skin and eyes (after a while) it’s supposed to be great for your gums and oral health as well as ridding our bodies of those toxins. It’s a fad, I’m sure, but it is an ancient technique and makes a lot of sense. Try it for 3 minutes the first day and build up your tolerance, if you like. I like it, it’s grown on me.

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    2. Justin

      Hello Rebecca,
      Oil pulling has been a nightly routine for me for more than a year now. I do it diligently. I have tried coconut, sesame and sunflower seed oil to compare, and finally stick to sunflower seed oil.
      My dentist has been very pleased with what he see for the last 3 visits. It works for me. I also notice no staining on the teeth. Previously I had to restrict myself to one cup of coffee to control it, but nowadays, I can do 3 cups.
      I am not sure about the other benefit. But I am super happy with my gum health.

      Reply

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