The Parts and the Whole
Today I listened through a recording of Tony leading us through the complete Ghosh series. He led us through it a few times during our training and, with all the posture variations (140 positions) and individual instruction it takes about 3 1/2 hours. As I listen back to Tony's guidance, one thing in particular strikes me. He is relatively brief in the postures.
Tony often counts while we practice: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 at frustratingly unpredictable tempos, but in general he doesn't make us hold the postures for super long. (Though I must mention that some postures felt like forever. Two in particular are the 2nd expression of Chair and Balancing Stick.) As I have developed my own practice, finding my own expressions of the postures and sequences, I find myself spending longer and longer in each posture. Often 10 breaths, somewhere around 1 minute per posture. Tony's counts are more in the 10-20 second range.
I realize that there is a difference between focusing on each individual posture, like I have been in my own practice, and focusing on the practice as a whole. Perhaps we don't need to get each posture perfect or even to its deepest expression. We only need to put our body in the position for a reasonable period of time, not too long, and then move on. Over the course of a couple hours and a few dozen postures, the cumulative effect of the postures takes shape.
A complete practice is the sum of many postures. Perhaps it is better to do 50 postures, as in the Master's Core System, for 20 seconds apiece than 20 or 30 postures for a minute apiece.
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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