POV

Ashtanga Adventures Part 2: Getting Deeper

What changes is you! Its not about the teacher, not about the postures, not about the room…its just about your choices in life!

Story by Bibi Lorenzetti - bibilorenzetti.com Photos by Alessandro Sigismondi

A Taste of Second Series of Ashtanga Yoga by: Bibi Lorenzetti from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.

What is Ashtanga yoga? Ashtanga literally means eight limbs. Ashta means eight and anga means branches or limbs, these are: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Asana is the third of these eight, Ashtanga uses the physical to prepare the body and mind for the deeper stages of yoga which will in the long run transform you from within. You come to understand the rest naturally as you become committed to the practice.

Ashtanga Yoga asks you to work on the spiritual through the physical. You begin by sweating your way through some yoga poses while concentrating your mind on your body, breath and gaze.

The lineage as we know it today came to us from Mysore, India. I learned the lineage first hand from my Guru Sharath Jois, who is the grandson of the founder of Ashtanga yoga, Sri K Pattabhi Jois. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois learned by spending over twenty years studying with his Guru Sri T. Krishnamacharia who in turn had learned from his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and so on. These student teacher relationships, Guru Paramapara, are the heart of this practice; what keeps its alive over the years. There is so much love infused in this method of studying.

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

For the past four years I have been making my yearly pilgrimage to spend two months studying closely with Sharath. I now carry and hold the torch of this beautiful transformative practice with his blessing to teach.

My teachers at the Shala Yoga House, where I currently teach in nyc, introduced me to the practice. They were the ones to encourage me to make the first pilgrimage.

Why did I choose Ashtanga over Vinyasa? Well, I never felt like I really learned anything doing Vinyasa. Yes, I was moving and feeling relaxed at the end of practice, but there was no big shift happening inside.

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

The biggest shift I noticed when I started doing Ashtanga was that the choices I made the day before really affected the way I felt in practice, both physically and mentally. This is what got me committed. The more time I put into my practice the more I started to learn about who I am. The practice taught me to be responsible of my choices.

Why does this shift happen only with Ashtanga? Because you practice the same set of postures everyday. The asanas are the same, the teacher is the same, the time of day you practice is the same… What changes is you! Its not about the teacher, not about the postures, not about the room…its just about your choices in life!

The nature of Ashtanga yoga is that you repeat the poses in the same order until you have mastered them. When you repeat a series of postures over and over again you move away from the intellectual understanding to a more energetic intuitive intelligence that connects movement to a place deep within.
The intensity of the practice gets you hooked to it.

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Mysore Ashtanga is a six-day a week practice. It involves a lot of moving, breathing and sweating. It is a portable practice, you don’t need anything apart from your body, your willingness and your mat. It requires commitment, devotion and a little faith.

The practice is made up of six sets of sequences each made up of x amount of asanas. The sequences are learned over a long period of time under the guidance of a qualified teacher. When you come to the practice for the first time you begin with sun salutations which prepare the body, the limbs and the get you familiar with the how to use the breath.

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Primary series or Yoga Chikitsa is a sequence made up of 72 asanas threaded together by breath. Each posture prepares the student for the one to come. The point of the asanas in this sequence is to purify the organs, create flexibility and stability in the muscles and joints and steady the mind.

There are three fundamental elements that hold the practice together and turn it into a moving meditation- these are known as tristhana- posture, gazing point and breath. Tristhana is used to help the practitioner develop concentration and one pointed focus.

Now lets take a look at the next step.

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Photo © Alessandro Sigismondi

Bibi Lorenzetti
bibilorenzetti.com
yoga – food – health coaching

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOE5qVfEV4Sqv6MqDxI416A

 

Read part 1 at: http://www.citizenbrooklyn.com/topics/pov/ashtanga-adventures-part-1-new-year-new-yogi/

Comments are closed.