Sunday, February 27, 2011

I GET TO (an inspired post)

After reading Live.Love.Yoga Blog’s post on I Get To, I was inspired to write this post.   It got me thinking about how I can treat this episode of my tennis elbow injury into something positive by listing out all the things I get to do from it. 

I GET TO  receive advice, reassurance and support from my teachers and friends when ever I lamented on my elbow acting up and that I can’t do some of the yoga poses.

I GET TO know more about the body anatomy when I do my research on tennis elbow. 

I GET TO know the staff and other patients and have become friends with them while waiting for my turn for the acupuncture treatment at the clinic.

I GET TO clear the toxins in my body as I take the Chinese medicines and undergo the diet restriction.

I GET TO learn how to really listen to my body more and be more aware how some movements affect my elbow when I practice now as I am still recovering from the elbow injury.

And I GET TO learn to be patient and kind to myself. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Returning to Practice with a Beginner's Mind

When I woke up this morning, I was feeling quite anxious as I would be going for my first yoga class since my tennis elbow injury.  It was also my first class at My Yoga Sanctuary which opened its doors in January 2011 and my first time practicing with my teacher, Azmi Samdjaga and my fellow yoga practitioners this year.  I had tweeted Azmi last night to inform him that I would be attending the flow class and that I may need to skip some of the poses as my elbow is not completely healed.  Azmi had responded that he was not worried about me as he knows that I would listen to my body and it gave me a boost of confidence to go to the class.

When I decided to attend the flow class today, it was after a lot of contemplation and doing an assessment on the condition of my elbow after going to so many acupuncture treatments.  I could still feel some pain in some movements but my arm has been starting to go stiff due to the limited activity.   Although I have been doing some self-practice,  I feel that I have been too cautious in trying not to aggravate my elbow as I had been doing poses that do not make much use of my hands as support although downward dog has actually been a pain reliever most of the time.

As Azmi’s flow class normally consists of poses for an all-round workout for the whole body which includes standing, sitting, forward bends, backbends as well as arm balancing poses,  I thought that I would need to skip some of the poses especially the arm-balancing poses.  Remembering my post about Beginner’s Mind, I decided to set my intention to embrace a beginner’s mind for the class by opening to possibilities and not deciding beforehand how my practice should go and what poses I should not do in the class.

With this in mind, I managed to do most of the poses which included sun salutations, bakasana,  eka pada koundiyanasana, wheel pose, shoulder stand, halasana and headstand.  I did skip some chaturangas by going straight to downward dog during some of the transitions but it was also to conserve energy besides easing some pressure off the elbow.  Whenever I felt any pain in my elbow which was mainly from twisting my right hand, I eased off or did a variation of the pose.

The 90 mins flow class was  a great workout for both my body and my mind and it was also an affirmation that when you practice, all will be coming.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Enlighten Up!

Recently Live, Love, Laugh, Be Free did a blog post about the film Enlighten Up! which is a yoga documentary about how a filmmaker and a skeptical journalist circle the globe talking to mystics, gurus, mad men and saints for the true meaning of yoga in a quest to prove whether yoga can transform anyone (full synopsis available here).  I managed to find the film on Youtube and it is a good film to watch for anyone practicing yoga.   

I love the fascinating exchanges with the great yoga gurus as they give some  insights on how yoga can bring enlightenment to our lives.   

The following are some great quotes from the film.

Yoga is a subjective way of eradicating the instinctive weakness of human being.  For some it may be quick, for some it may be slow.  But change has to take place, transformation has to take place in whatever average  intellectual condition they are. - B.K.S Ivengar

Yoga practicee is both spiritual and  physical.  You take practice. Take the practice, automatically, it’s coming. That is take practice, practice, practice. That is the method.  You follow. Keep practice, practice, practice, practice. Whole life is practice. – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Everything depends on you, hangs on you. So you should feel the importance of yourself . You are the most important person, for any decision, all the decisions, all the practices or any practice.  Be yourself. Be your true self.  Happiness is not outside. It is within us. – Dr. Swami Gurusharananda 

I have recently finished reading the book Yoga School Dropout from Lucy Edge where she goes in search of spiritual riches (and the perfect headstand)  in India.  It is a very good read as it is hilarious and witty and gives a lot of information about the ashrams in India.

As  the book and the film are about enlightenment from yoga, both provide a premise that it  is found in our inner self and that there are many different paths leading to it.  You just need to find the path most suitable for yourself. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Yoga in my Life

I found this beautiful poem from John Martin.  He has put into words how yoga has made a difference in my life. 

Yoga has become such an important part of my life
Something I can turn to, to help erase the everyday strife

Practising in a class, of all shapes and sizes
Listening to a teacher who encourages, never criticizes

Standing in Tadasana with hands at Namaste
Each class starts, and for a brief time we stay

The asanas always flow gently, one after the other
The class is like a family, with the teacher the mother

Lying on our back or standing on our feet
The postures allow us, our inner soul to meet

Stretching up to the sky, or bending down to the earth
Brings forth a feeling of both personal peace and self worth

By the end of the class, the muscles are stretched and the mind still
And each student, for another session at least, has had their fill

So thanks go out to all the many teachers, present and past
Who have made sure the beauty of yoga will forever last.