Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ashtanga and visualisation

I've been meaning to post on this topic for a while now, but haven't got round to it. More recently I've also been doing a bit of renovation of the house, sorting out the guest bedroom and turning the dining room into a yoga practice space, which has involved selling all of the furniture in it... Sorry Mum, dinner round yours from now on, yeah?!!

Anyway, I'm de-cluttering my life...who needs all of this stuff anyway? Guess it'd be different if I had a family, but I don't, so, out it goes, dinner table and chairs, electric fire place, dining room paintings, the list goes on! I can't wait to post picture of the before and after :o)

SO I haven't practiced for a week due to chaos and my friend's wedding, but today's practice in the midst of dust and crap was suprisingly great. My body was uber flexible and I suprised myself as I got a really deep (head to shin) forward bend in the first surynamaskara. Now, I've never experienced this before, especially after a week off, but I'm putting it down to extra oestrogen, courtesy of the time of the month... Funny how the body changes isn't it? I can't even predict how my body will be anymore, I've even become allergic to sanitary products recently, how strange is that?! It's amazing, if something needs to change, it will find a way of telling you...

Anyway, so back to ashtanga and visualisation. I first realised the power of visualisation when I returned from my Portugal retreat and started to slow my practice down, to try to *really* heal my knees. In all the seated postures which previously aggravated them, I started to really go inside the joints which were working and try and feel where the tension was, where it needed releasing, where the *work* was going on and where it wasn't. By doing this, I realised that I could concentrate the *work* into the joint away from the knee. So, for example, in the Mari sequence I focussed on the hip working, instead of pressing the knee and strangely enough the work went to the hip and not the knee and low and behold, the hips started to release and the pain disappeared from the knee.......

The other way I've noticed visualisation working for me has also come from the teaching in Portugal. I was given assists, particularly in trikonoasana and parsvakonasana and the warriors. The assists were so-called 'resistance assists' where you'd push a part of your body into the hand or other part of the teacher's body, ultimately so that this would act as a lever to open your body up in a particular way (I've also seen this taught by Brian Cooper). For instance, in trikonasana, the teacher would ask you to press your outstretched hand into their solid hand which would open your chest... Once your body realises where it should be, you can visualise and recreate the pressing into an imaginary hand and you will get the same effect... something I have found really simple but quite amazing! Have a go and let me know what you think!

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