Saturday, 22 January 2011

I can't remember the last time I worked so hard..

If last night, Thursday night, Wednesday's tri-class and Tueday's hot class weren't enough, I decided it would be a good idea to (for my yogic development) try another class today. So D and I took a little trip over the the Stone Monkey Cafe in Leamington Spa to try what they call 'The Freestyle Yoga Project'.

Now what I expecting was far from what I actually experienced. To coin my father's phrase 'It's like everything else', you get a completely different perception of a person once you meet them and experience them first hand. I had spoken to people and taken in their views on M before I had met him , I had read profiles and even heard him speak in interview on YogaPeeps, but until you actually meet someone you will never gauge what someone is really like. Moreover, how their style of teaching yoga is...

I was therefore completely surprised to find that I absolutely loved the class presented to me. Non-dogmatic yet authentic, tough yet accessible, ashtanga yet hatha, non-spiritual yet with soul....

The sweat dripped from my chin, my nose, my shoulder, just like in hot yoga, yet it was my own body, my own ujjayi breath which controlled this thermostat, propelled only through the asanas presented to me and not through external heat or even any external adjustment from the teacher (the adjustments were almost imperceptible; he was there in the position for adjusting but didn't really touch).

It showed me that the full primary series of ashtanga yoga as taught be Sri K Pattabhi Jois is, not an infallible system. I can honestly say that I have worked muscles in this practice that I have probably never worked before (or possibly not since my trip to Insabina in June), there were postures which other people seemed to make look easy, like whilst in a wide legged forward bend with hand on the floor, then taking one leg out to the side! I could hardly move the leg out, let alone look convincing in the pose! Ashtanga does not work the legs enough, (controbersially might be one of the reasons why my knees couldn't take it when introduced into a different and more varied style of yoga in June). All the famous yoga teachers do not appear to have 'strong legs' although their upper bodies are buff.

So will I go again to this class? The answer is a resounding 'yes'. It takes me beyond my comfortable boundaries. Whilst I might hate it at the time 'cos it hurts, I know that it's all for the greater good and that one day the pain will go and it will feel easy (ish). There's no point working just one end of the body. You need to work the end with the legs no matter what the ashtanga vinyaysa system says!

"Freestyle Yoga Project" = Big thumbs up!


  1. BTW - I even did a full urdhva dhanurasana with one leg lifted off the ground (Although not sure at what angle)! And to think I thought these were postures were only for the advanced student!

  2. Bit of a shock when I came across some of the one leg squatting postures in vinyasa krama, slowly squatting in Utthita hasta Padangusthasana or Ardha badha padmottanasana for instance. good though made my legs stronger which seemed to help my dropbacks and kapo. love that leg lift in UD feels great when you get the balance right, think I did a post just on leg lifts a while ago, loved them.