Sri K Pattabhi Jois said, "Yoga is 99 percent practice, one percent theory." This blog is a resource to explore the one percent theory and to inspire you on the mat.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

from David's Ashtanga Journals: Physical and Mental Edge

To read this post on my new updated BLOG!!

I am constantly writing (in notebooks) about the practice. The writings are usually ideas or drafts for blogs, scripts for videos, or random personal thoughts. Joy loves to flip through them and says she finds a lot of helpful notes. A couple of weeks ago she threw out the idea that I should start posting some of them. Here's one, enjoy! David

"Here's what I say--go for it with all your might and gusto-put everything you have into achieving your asana's but...for christ sake---please play safe, be smart, stay alert to how you are treating your body--Think long term--aligning your edges.

The physical edge is how you push yourself physically--the intensity with which (you) meet your challenges, how much time and energy you put into developing your asana practice. The edge is the risk zone, the zone of discomfort. The physical place where you are not comfortable, where you find yourself wanting to escape somehow--you want to shift positions, move, adjust--where you feel strong sensations within your body--whether forward or backward bending, each person has a place where fear arises, where there are feelings of insecurity or doubt, success or failure is not certain--where things become physically challenging, more strength then you have may be required, or more flexibility-----A significant part of asana practice is to encounter physical hardship, it is by challenging yourself physically that the body becomes firm, strong, and healthy--the strong body enables you to work with your mind. As you develop the capacity to extend your physical edge you become ready to work with more mental aspects of practice--

You begin to work with your mental edge. The mental edge refers to working with expanding your awareness and focusing on your mental challenges. The types of emotional responses that habitually come up for you given circumstances. Just as you develop your physical practice through Yoga, there is a process of developing mental and emotional maturity---The mental edge arises where you have resistance in your emotional response or to how you behave. Pattabhis Jois used to talk about mind control and about strengthening your mind. The mental edge occurs when you feel your self responding to a situation involuntarily, seemingly without your consent--a mood over takes you, all of a sudden you are angry or envious--and you respond in a way that doesn't feel right, but you persist in that response because you don't have the mental strength or emotional maturity to express a more fitting response.

You have the opportunity during Yoga practice to encounter your mental edges. They can be less obvious and thus more difficult to pin point. Your mental response to what you experience in your asana work can help you remove the coverings that obscure your wisdom. To intentionally pay attention to what comes up for you mentally during practice adds an essential dimension to your work and reveals deeper layers of practice."

1 comment:

  1. God bless Joy for sharing from your notebook! :-) hee hee

    I totally relate to this, it is very true that it is in the edge of asana we meet our edge in life too, and through it we can perhaps transcend it or, better yet, as you refer, come to the miracle of "changing our automatic reactions"


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