I have a tendency to do things to the extreme. When I get cookies from the store, I eat 5 of them instead of one. I once ran 5 miles after years without running just to prove to myself that I could. (I had trouble walking for about a week after.) My asana/posture practice is slightly less extreme but has those tendencies - bursts of energy, long days of practice followed by days of rest. I want to move in the direction of a sensible, consistent practice that I can do everyday. It will be healthier in the long run and it won't require me to find 4 or 5 hours at a time to practice.
Part of the difficulty is that there are so many postures and exercises. It can take 4-5 hours to practice all of the 100+ postures that I want to practice, and that doesn't include 2nd sets or in-depth posture work. Then there is about an hour of breathing/pranayama exercises that are separate from the postures. So a "complete" practice takes about 6 hours, preferably without eating for 3 hours before. It leaves me completely exhausted for about a day and a half, meaning that I can't do this everyday.
It is important to practice every day. It is a significant part of the discipline, and one that is becoming more important to me. So I need to find a way to whittle the postures down into chunks of about 2 hours, an amount of time that I consider sustainable both physically and logistically. And the 2 hour chunks need to be complete practices, working my body and mind in a balanced way while also moving me forward.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
At this point, I have decided to split the postures into Primary and Secondary sequences. The Primary sequence will be a well-rounded practice, with beginning and intermediate postures from every Series (standing, fixed firm, lotus, double sided, stretching, etc). I will do this Primary sequence 3 times per week, every other day. It will maintain the foundation of my practice and be a stable reference to gauge my progress. For this sequence, I am going to use the Core 40/Master's Core System, a sequence of 40 postures. This sequence is a great all-around practice.
On the opposite days, I will do Secondary sequences that I am developing. They will be about 2 hours in length, and they will focus on different areas for advancement and development. For example, on one of the Secondary days I will do the entire Lotus series, on another of the days I will do the entire Full backbending series, on another of the days I will do the Tortoise series.
On the 7th day I will rest.
With this system I hope to do 3 things: 1) Maintain a sustainable practice that I can do every day. Like I mentioned earlier, the daily discipline is increasingly important to me. 2) Have a complete practice. When I get too far away from the pre-developed systems, I tend to focus on what I want to focus on and end up leaving some things by the wayside. My breathing, twisting and some of my stretching get left behind. 3) Develop and progress. In the midst of maintaining a complete and sustainable practice, I want to continue progressing and improving. But I can't let it be at the expense of the bigger picture.
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