I started a daily yoga practice a little over two months ago. It is the best gift I have ever given myself, I feel years younger, and although I still have some pain, a lot of it has decreased or only comes on occasion and not permanently as before. I didn’t know how much pain I was in until it left me. I feel that the healing is happening during the vinyasas in my ashtanga yoga practice.
I’ve grown stronger, or rather I’ve found the strength I already had. I feel like I already have all the strength I need to reach every pose in yoga, as cocky as that sounds, I just don’t know how to use it. Through daily practice I unlock a little bit of it every time. Yes, muscle is being built, joints are gaining stability, my body is changing. These are just the manifestations of all the strength I already have. The strength is in my pelvis, I have begun to feel my pelvis for the first time in years. I start, on occassion, to be able to feel the deep muscle supporting my practices and transistions, when I can feel it the practice gains a new dimension. Last night I went on a speleo training of sorts, a lot of rope work. I went on this same training last year, and I found it much more difficult. I was doing it all with my arms, nearly pulled my shoulders out, today I feel like I did most of the heavy lifting (aka, lifting myself up) with my abdomen, specially my lower abs. I was able to access the power stored in my core, moving with integrity even as I was lifting myself up using my arms as leverage, but not as the main strength sources. I wasn’t even thinking about it, this is true progress. All thanks to yoga, since I haven’t been doing rope work regularly lately. (Doing muscle work while hanging on a harness is a GREAT way to relieve back pain, by the way, I think that I why I have kept on caving).
In the ashtanga yoga that I practice, I really feel like the vinyasa is where all the magic happens. The vinyasas in ashtanga are transitions from one pose to the next, consisting of jumping back to plank, lower down to chaturanga (like half a push up), upward facing dog, downward facing dog, and a jump forward to the next pose. As beginners we focus on trying to ‘get’ all the flashy looking poses, and see the vinyasa as an ‘in between’; but I am starting to think that the vinyasa is really ‘it’. The rest just helps you to gain the strength and flexibility to practice vinayasa with integrity. The real transformation is happening in the vinyasas, in videos and beginners lessons they advice that you ‘skip’ the vinyasas once it becomes too much. I think it would be better to keep the vinyasa and skip the poses. I’ll start practicing like that this week, see what happens.
Keep to the vinyasas as much as possible.