Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ashtanga Yoga vs. Gymnastics

Hello All,
As we begin to work on adjustments and discuss asanas, we spend a lot of time talking about techinique, alignment, anatomy... physical elements. I am by no means suggesting that we shouldn't or that it is not important, but I'm reading the yoga sutras and so far there is no mention of asanas.
I'm reminded of the importance of yoga, that is, quieting of the mind and life off the mat. Sometimes it's easy to become wrapped up in all that is going on in each asana physically, but ultimately we're hoping to teach yoga, not gymnastics!
I personally struggle to separate the two at times in my own practice. Through dance and Pilates, I learned to use my body as a technician, so I find it easy to let my mind focus on alignment, form, and aesthetic.
When first started Ashtanga, Krista Shirley told me that because of where I was physically, that I could take my practice a lot further than others who are just starting out. I don't think she was wrong in saying that, but I think there are other challenges available to the more flexible/conditioned that may not be challenges to others.
I'm rambling a bit, but my point of discussion is, yoga vs. gymnastics. Any one else have thoughts, struggles, or something to share?


1 comment:

Cat said...

I too can identify with your struggle. I spent 11 years competing, performing and auditioning in the dance world. Perfection was the key to success which eventually led me to give up all physical activity for quite some time. I then stumbled upon yoga and discovered it calmed my anxiety and eliminated addictive behaviors. The teachings in the yoga sutras are why I love yoga so much. Ego still manages to sneak in on occasion and I find myself desiring to progress to the next "physical level". I believe this is challenge that can be overcome in time through retraining our thought patterns.