Garudasana: Some technical info.

Garudasana means Eagle posture, it´s also the name of the king of the birds.
The vehicle of Visnu.

The asana develops the ankles and remove stiffness in the shoulders. This is why it can be effective in cases of “muscle-contraction headaches” because it can release the muscle-tension in critical areas around the neck, shoulders and chest.
It´s also good if you want to have access to your lower back and buttocks without the tension created in case you have “short” hamstrings.

Be careful if you have any shoulder injury, more specific: rotator cuff problems. And remember, in case you have any specific condition go out there and find a good teacher that, I´m sure, will be happy to guide and help you.

Personally, one of the things I like more about this posture is that I find it one of the most mysterious ones between the standing postures.

Daniel took the photo without knowing anything about the meaning of it´s name. And three little birds are there with me, singing sweets songs. Synchrony is cool, isn´t it?

More photos and info at: http://www.facebook.com/yogaalegre.

Garudasana by Daniel Rönnback.
Garudasana by Daniel Rönnback.
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The impossible (or how to seek perfection in asana).

Last year, during a class I took with him in India, Prashant Iyengar talked about the tendency of some yoga practitioners/teachers to become obsessed with the instructions.

I don´t know very much of how is this in other methods of yoga practice but, in Iyengar, it´s pretty easy to talk a lot about the physical body, giving endless instructions. It´s easy to feel that there´s no such a thing as a perfect asana: you can always improve; reach a deeper level, go further.

Being able to fill with consciousness/energy/intelligence every corner of your body (as Guruji does) it´s, undoubtedly, a big challenge. This challenge, in my experience, requires you to become more and more sensitive, helping you to have the control of what is happening not just with your body but with your whole being in an asana. Because, as Guruji would say it: how do you want to go further in the limbs of yoga if you aren´t able to understand what is happening to your own body?

We can hear instructions like: keep the nail of every toe parallel to the floor, move the back ribs away from the lumbar spine or move the groins inside your body…Sometimes just “open your chest” it´s a really difficult thing; putting all of them together while you´re doing –for example- an intense backbend it´s seems sometimes, impossible.

But anyhow, we´re trying.

Maybe that´s exactly why we keep looking for it because, going after a difficult goal makes the way worth it.

Sometimes, while I´m practicing, I like to shut the instructions up thinking: “Ok, Ale, you´re here, doing your best, instead of try to move further in the posture, try to move deeper into this moment.” I keep all the actions of my body but I´m there still in connection with my breathing and with the perfection of that second.

I think it´s in these contradictions where I find freedom in the practice.

This is how I see it: Even though I know that my asana it´s not perfect, even though maybe the alignment of the skin of my calves or back it´s not ideal and, I know that there´re many things I´m not aware of because (for example) the tension on my neck is taking all the attention, I´m still trying hard to do it in the best way I can, with honesty and humbleness. And, when I get to that point, I like to be in silent, inner silent, maintaining, observing, and feeling good because I reached my best level in that moment.

I like to think that a part of us knows that it doesn´t make logical sense to go to the practice and try to find “perfection” because there will be always something better, deeper, more aligned but, anyway, we´re trying to do it in the best way we know, thinking that, if we´re able to experience the joy of being in this un-perfect condition, how would it be like if we were doing it perfect?

The search will continue.

Who can say where it will end?

The Fool.

I feel like I´m new in everything nowadays: A beginner in life or something like that. It´s a pretty honest feeling and sometimes it´s like: “THIS IS AWESOME!!!” but sometimes it´s like “But, come on Ale, I thought you learnt something from the past!!!”

The other day we went to Vågakallen.

It is the biggest mountain around Henningsvaer and after a long walk; you can climb to the summit.

The route we did it wasn´t a difficult climb at all, perfect for me: a super beginner.

When I go with Andreas somewhere in the mountains I always feel like a child, learning from someone who knows A LOT about what he´s talking about.

At the same time, pressure and fear, make my learning process a little slower than I´m used to so I deal with a completely new picture of myself.

Nevertheless, that day we went out and I was thinking all the time: Don´t take this personal, trust yourself, do your best, enjoy.  Like a mantra. Once and again. Breathing consciously (as pranayama taught me), walking as fast as I could and following Andreas´ advices.

Until we came to this place:

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Probably between those rocks there is around 1, 1 ½ meters distance. It´s not that much if you think about it.  Andreas went there and jumped like nothing. Without thinking, just like if jumping over 40 or more meters high it´s a normal thing.

And I was like:

No way.

I can´t.

What happens if I fall?

I´m definitely not going to do this.

Andreas was there, waiting for me on the other side, while I was dealing with myself divided between the fear of jumping, the fear of falling and the fear of being trapped for hours on that rock.

Andreas was VERY nice.

He was there trying to communicate me that it wasn´t that dangerous and that I needed to trust my feet and legs.

In my mind, all the time: No way, I can´t.

Andreas took some precautions while I was there thinking and thinking, saying: Ale, you can do this… One, two… NO I CAN´T!

We were there around 15 minutes, (Andreas says it was between 30 minutes and one hour but, for me time flew faster than ever!!!) Anyway, dealing with yourself and your fears it´s not that easy and, in other conditions, definitely, takes more than 30 minutes.

Until I jumped.

And –since I´m writing this- I survived.

That experience was, by far, one of the most important moments in my life: Taking the chance of doing something even though your mind it´s telling you that there is no way you can do it.

Sometimes in yoga it´s like that.  At the beginning it can be the opposite: your mind saying “Of course I can do that, it seems simple”, but then your body don´t answer. After a few years of practice, when you have to do something new, your mind is more like: No way… Until your body achieves it (and your mind, suddenly, silent.)

On the other side of the jump there was Andreas and I realized why I love him so much.  Also I realized how good he is in what he does. And how much I trust him.

I did the jump, yes, but he was there for me.

My brother made me realize how familiar this experience was with the “first” tarot card: The Fool.

In the regular representation of this card we can see a man standing at the edge of something that looks like a mountain with, probably, an abyss in front of him. But he doesn´t seems to be bothered by that.  Innocent and trusting in the universe, in his dog, in his feet or whatever you want, it seems that he will continue walking no matter what.

Actually, the fool is one of the “unnumbered” cards of the deck.

The fool represents the beginning of an important journey.

Maybe feeling like a beginner it´s not that bad after all. Its the fool a fool after all?

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Transform yourself and eliminate the bullshit :)

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Finding yoga was, for me, the beginning of a transformation that continues until today. Even though I was pretty young, since the first moment I knew I found something significant. At the same time, I knew it needed time, practice and patience to grow up. But the seed was already in my heart.

In a slow rhythm, my practice was something that had this “in crescendo” process. Every day was longer, deeper or more intense.

I don´t know when it happened that the practice started to be a moment of deep connection with myself. I mean it´s not the same type of connection you get during a yoga class or after savasana… It´s something that goes beyond that and that now, after 11 years of practice I can see like a continuous “observing myself transforming” mode.

Observing myself made me feel bad sensations sometimes: I´m not a super self confident kind of person, I have a lot of problems finding the limit between “following the flow” and “going for it” type of attitude, I sometimes just don´t know what I want.

In the other hand, in that observation I, somehow, learnt how to accept myself without many judgments, being aware of my reactions and changes, knowing that them were there teaching me much more about myself than any verbal explanation.

The other day I saw a movie called Riding giants. The movie it´s about big/giant waves surfer and the evolution of the sport since mid ’50s until now.

The movie is about a passion that goes beyond words, a passion for doing something that not just makes you happy but gives meaning to the fact of being alive (or dead).

It´s not rational at all. It´s something that it´s there in your guts or not.

Sometimes something happens in life: Maybe you had an accident, lost your job or someone you loved. Maybe you found a new practice or routine that makes you feel better. Sometimes there´s a breaking point that makes your life upside down and it´s not easy to discover that this is an opportunity to transform yourself. Sometimes its something dramatic, sometimes it comes in waves.

In the movie, Mark Renneker (who is a surfer and a doctor working with cancer patients), said something that touched my heart.

He said: “One of the things I love a about my work as a physician (…) is to see what often takes place which is transformation, they just begin to sort of eliminate the bullshit and they begin to actually live, almost for the first time. Those kinds of life changing events can come from illness, they can come from revelation, they can come for me, in a way, from big wave surfing.”

Eliminating the bullshit is the only way we have to make ourselves lighter. And I think it´s easy to realize that it´s full of bullshit everywhere but most of it, it´s in our heads. Distrust, taboos, the fear of change, our own mental square structures and all the things that are there, stopping us from doing what we want to do.

We can do it in the way we want, Dr. Rekenner found surf, I found yoga but I´m finding new things every day: The sunlight trough my window or the smile of a kid, the moving tail of a dog, the sound of my favorite song or being able to touch the skin of the people I love… I use all of those things as everyday reminders.

You have to have something inside if you want to start to empty yourself. And yes, even though we think there´s nothing, there is always something. No-thing it is Some-thing.

I don´t know what´s the meaning of life. I don´t even know if it has any sense being standing on two legs in this planet moving in the corner of the galaxy but there´s one thing that feels real for me and that it´s this voice in my head telling me: Don´t be afraid, remove the bullshit, make the package lighter and try to find the answers for the questions that you have in your heart.

All the rest will come.

This moment is perfect.

There´s something about the occasions I felt I was “right”: I never learnt anything.

There was always my ego -the worst part of it- feeling really good, but actually myself (the part of me that I identify as the “real” me) wasn´t there at all. There was this image of myself, following all the concepts I already knew perfectly, but there wasn´t anything new, any risk, any challenge or any healing. Even though I´m a person for whom it’s really easy to make others feel good. For me it’s really easy to “see” where I can help others to be better, or to grow, or to “complete” themselves, if you know what I mean.

My challenge is a lot about how to show myself the way to “improve me” in the places of myself I´m not aware of at all.

This is a way of seeing life.

And, my way of seeing life has a lot to do with my yoga practice. It is about discovering myself in every corner of my behavior, in every moment; in the present, in the past, in the future. And, after that, being able to see the patrons behind that, and to see the way of not cheating myself at all.

I´m wondering if that is really possible at all: To be able to see myself completely and don´t feel that I’m “betraying” myself being the way I am.

Even though for me, life has a lot to do with “educating” myself, I really would like to feel good the way I am. Understanding that there is a lot I have to change and to improve, but feeling good, feeling confidence about myself, knowing that, inside of myself, hides the diamond that every soul is having.

Inside of our little body hides God. Our little way of expressing it, is sacred. Even though I have to learn, and change so many things, in this moment, my behavior is sacred.