I am up again in the wee hours. I arise about 3:30am and go into the men’s room to practice. I begin with several exercises for breathing, the neck and shoulders, followed by warming up the torso, hips, legs and feet. Only then do I proceed to do some postures.
There is a separation here between “therapeutic exercises” and “asanas (yoga postures)”. Most of what we have learned so far in our training has been the therapeutic exercises, designed for very specific benefit to the physical body and the systems of the body. We began to discuss yoga postures yesterday, but they have a slightly different intention as far as I can tell. I have yet to tease that out.
During my practice this morning I am struck by the conflict between intuition and discipline. It is one thing to begin practice and follow the urging of the body and mind, doing exercises and postures that are calling out to be done next. My practice this morning is like that. It is very different from having a plan for practice or a set series of exercises to do regardless of how you feel or what your body may be asking for that day. I think there is value in both. The trick as always is to find the balance and get the most benefit from both sides.
We begin our training today with discussion of diseases, causes and symptoms. The second session covers several seated postures and mudras, and we begin to cover pranayama (breathing) exercises.
At lunch Jeff tells us about a study they sponsored that found some evidence that pranayama and chanting increase the production of nerve growth hormone. Amazing.
I take a nap between the afternoon and evening training sessions. It is the middle of the night in Wisconsin and I sleep very deeply. I wake up to go to class and am not sure what day it is. Is it morning already?
We discuss more diseases and the chakras related to several postures. Muktamala rattles off posture names in Sanskrit or Bengali, and it is good for my mind to keep up. She may call a pose any of several different names in 3 different languages, and we have to know what she’s talking about.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga