Studying Yoga

studyyoga1There is so much to learn and experience and the yoga teacher training is pulling me deeper.  I am enjoying the exploration.  Rather than overwhelm myself, I am studying and practising when the feeling takes me, choosing one topic and seeing where it goes.

I’m a smorgasbord, meze kind of person, so I digest little bits of each area. It helps me continue, leads me down all kinds of interesting associated paths and doesn’t bore me!  Eventually it will all come together..

I sat down to write this after waking at 5.30 am cooking a flageolet stew, preparing my lunch,  washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, then getting back into bed an hour later to read yoga books.

I pulled the Yoga Pradipika from the pile of books on the floor by my bed and then opened up Teaching Yoga by Marc Stephens. The Pradipika sent me on a more current explanation which was where the Teaching Yoga book came in handy.  And then something would attract me, like a specific pose or an awarenss of Sanskrit name structure..and reading about the pose this inevitably leads me to consider the anatomy.

The Yoga Anatomy book is also in that pile and it’s useful in one way but my anatomical awareness was much clearer when I also checked Dorling Kindersley’s The Concise Human Body.

I got lost in reading that because it brought back studies I’d done on the brain and functions and fired my interest in digestion.  I saw the patterns of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems along the spine and in the organs and drew some similarities with the Yogic/Eastern concept of energy flow around the body

yogasubtleenergyThen I found myself trying to instill the Sanskrit names for some of the yogic concepts and foundations as well as for a few poses, I read the chapter in Teaching Yoga on Subtle Energies, studying the explanations of chakras and bhandas and doshas and gunas, using coloured pens to highlight and add notes or symbols/drawings.

Some of this stuff I am already familiar with. I’ve used chakras in meditations and am aware of their significance, but I never knew the Sanskrit names.  I’d learned about doshas delving into Ayurveda exploring my predominant dosha [vata] and the kind of food that will give me balance.

A glimpse later today on Marc Stephens website revealed some amazing videos with detailed instructions for teachers and for those who are interested in exploring asanas in further depth.

Marc Stephens Yoga Teacher Training Videos

I find Marc Stephen’s book is full of really useful teaching tips..Today I learned ‘don’t ask students to pull out their sitting bones when they’re doing seated poses’ [and a reason why]  and engaging Uddiyana Bandha [one of the energy locks] fully is more common as a pranayama [breathing] technique and not always useful for certain yoga poses as it restricts breathing.

Find out more about bandhas here

patanjali-what-is-sy-ogaThe other day I took my Yoga Sutras book [philosophical spiritual stuff put together by this guy Patanjali] and underlined each one.. reading the explanation offered by the author.  That’s a beginning of a long study if one chooses that route.   Yogis who delve deep into that part of it are like the Rabbis who study the Torah.. debating the meaning of each ‘sutra’ or chapter in the ‘holy text’.

Whether you go deep or remain just below the surface, simply reading the sutras will shine some light on your your own behaviours and ethics.  Self-awareness is the first step on the journey to grow into more of who you are.

And when I feel it, I start to do moves, leading to some kind of practice, often interspersed with chi kung.

I write stuff out, for my blog and for my own understanding and clarity.

I draw pictures to help me understand concepts visually, like the 8 limbs of yoga..

And I practice breathing in synch to my movements whenever I remember.

I also attend a weekly yoga class because it’s a real gift to me to lay back and let someone else direct the moves and I enjoy the people in the group..

Yoga is becoming a more intrinsic part of my life, slowly, day by day.. a few steps forward, a lull.. all part of building a daily practice and integrating it into my life again.







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