Friday, July 20, 2018

Strong Core - Navasana

Navasana (Full Boat Pose as it is called) is a difficult pose. It builds strength all the way to the core. No matter how do I feel about Navasana, I always take extra consideration when I get to this pose in my practice.

Navasana is repeated five times it gets increasingly more intense each time it is performed. The first round usually cause a burning sensation in my stomach muscles (abs) and legs. The last round culminates in shaking, sweating and shortening of breath.

It is true, Navasana builds core strength. In yoga, the "core" refers to more than just muscles. Ashtanga yoga leads you on an inward journey from the periphery of your mind flow to the core of your being, to the sense of presence itself.

Practicing Navasana, you'll understand how weak your abdominal muscles are, you will see why you have lower back pain.

Coordinating legs and your torso while strengthening your spine will also teach you about your breath, your attention span, your emotions, and your very nature.

This is a simple pose but it penetrates beyond the muscles, nerves, bones, and organs to your sense of presence. It requires you to draw everything toward your center: The abdomen moves toward the spine, the spine moves forward to support the front of the trunk, the shoulder blades move down and in toward the chest, while the chest spreads, and the arms and legs stay firm. You're feeling strong mentally and emotionally.

But be sure your mind will wander, the inner firmness you've cultivated will waver and eventually, you'll lose your balance. So, to find your inner core and stability in the pose, keep your face soft and your breath relaxed.

The idea is that when your brain is tense and your eyes bulge, your focus becomes external. When your are relaxed, however, your attention draws inward, and you can find stability again.

Navasana deserves love. Whether you are a beginner yoga student or if you have a more advanced practice, you can work on perfecting this pose.

If Navasana is not performed correctly it can cause some issues for lower back. So if you are just starting out, do not hesitate to modify Navasana by bending your knees.

Also, remember to breathe! In most core strengthening exercises we tend to hold our breath, but keeping a steady inhale and exhale helps us with focus and in building heat.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


There is no easy way to say this so let me just say it - Ashtanga Yoga is really hard. The most basic and modified version of this practice is still quite challenging. It takes on average 90 minutes to complete the Full Primary Series.

The longer you practice the more you notice how hard it really is. It is utterly intimidating and defeating endeavour. In any sport by training it you gain strength and you increase the practice just like running or swimming for example... but that doesn't apply for Ashtanga Yoga.

Ashtanga is not a favorite style of yoga. 

When I tell my friends to start doing Ashtanga Yoga, I always say, they'll feel so good! They'll be so relaxed after the practice and they'll lose the weight... What I don’t tell them is that most of the times daily practice makes you feel tired and empty. You are supposed to practice six times a week. And daily practice is tough. And it’s called a "practice" for a reason.

There's no end game in Ashtanga Yoga; no big "accomplished day,” nothing specific you’re training for, nothing to achieve. It’s a constant hard work in progress, you can always go deeper into a pose, extending your ligaments and stretching muscles further to make the pose more challenging.

When you start daily practice, you'll feel the wrist pain. Next, you will notice that your immune system is being cleaned. By daily sweat you'll start throwing away toxins from your body. In the first six months of the practice you may be constantly on the verge of sickness.

Ashtanga Yoga is not about strength so much as it is about keeping attention on breath. It is a kind of a moving meditation. Daily practice and endless repetition of the same poses build the strength very slowly. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

We are working consciously towards awakening. 

Most of us are no longer certain what our "outside" purpose is. What drives the world no longer drives us. Seeing the madness of our world so clearly, we may appear somewhat alienated from the culture around. We stick to our practice and we are no longer run by the ego, yet the awakening has not yet become fully integrated into our lives.

Only what we have is Ashtanga Yoga as a product of our will and self-determination. The practice has no reliance on or cooperation with God, teachers, gurus, swamis or any other agent, only authority is our inner self.

Ashtanga Yoga does not increase self-esteem, it does not give self-satisfaction or any self-improvement. We have no assurance of reward in this practice. There is only the practice... physical, sweaty and boring and there is no better place for the practice than here and no better time than now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ashtanga Yoga is not fun

I read somewhere on the net this simple question:

Where did you get this idea that your yoga practice has to be fun?  

True. Why should yoga practice be fun? Sharath says we should enjoy our practice, but it does not mean the practice is a "fun" thing. And it is not "fun" thing. It is hard work.

In Toronto Body Mind blog a yoga teacher Shareen describes the ashtanga practice in details. She said - Ashtanga yoga is certainly not something you choose to do if you are merely looking for entertainment, or for a social activity, or even for “Madonna arms”.

"Fun" is not what comes to mind when you mention Ashtanga yoga.

Anyone who’s done this practice knows that heart starts pumping after completing just the sun salutations at the beginning of the practice and that itself is quite challenging. And anyone who’s ever gone all the way through the standing and sitting sequence up to navasana, half primary, or attempted the complete full primary series understands what effort and strength are all about.

What’s the main message yoga studios want to give to the people about yoga practice?

Just have fun!

Well, that should be the main reason why ashtanga yoga is not so popular in yoga studios.

I always try to remind myself that ashtanga practice is not about how hard I work, but how effortlessly I work. It’s not about big movement, but about subtleties and the saving of energy.

Ashtanga is not for everybody. Most people do not like it. It is the repetition of the same postures that makes ashtanga yoga so unpopular. People want varieties, freedom of the movement, music, heat etc...

Ashtanga yoga teachers do not have a great sense of humor. In the best ashtanga class you hear only counting of breaths and occasionally inhale and exhale and that's it. There is no "Connecting energy to the earth" or "Let the light fill your head". No such things in the ashtanga class.

Anyway, regardless of everything, today I did my practice according to my schedule. I woke up at 6 AM, had a coffee. I turned on the Max's lead primary class and I started the practice around 7 AM. Very fast 5A and 3 B sun salutations, all standing and sitting postures up to navasana, performed all vynasas. I finished the practice with longer than usual closing sequence. I want to do back bending with 5 bridges (urdhva danurassana).

Tomorrow is next practice. 99% Practice, 1% Theory.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Life In Paradise...

It’s the third year in a row Canada recognised as the second best country in the world, according to the U.S. News and Report’s Best Country list.

Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt said, isn’t the same thing as a lie. When you read a lie, you know it is untrue. When bullshit is read, on the other hand, you simply don’t care if it’s true or not. So if I were to tell you that I’m writing this post on a typewriter rather than my laptop that would be a lie. If I were to tell you that I’m writing this post on my laptop and some of the components in this computer were manufactured in Taiwan, well that would be a bullshit....

U.S. News and Report’s Best Country list is a statistical bullshit...
In today's article Almost a third of Canadians 'very stressed about money,' report finds written by David Maher, CTVNews, shows us some surprising facts about Canadian paradise.

Nearly one third of Canadians feel “very stressed about money” on a regular basis – either “often” or “all the time," a new study has revealed. The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) investigation into poverty found that more than a quarter of people in Canada are struggling to make ends meet. The online poll examined responders’ personal experiences, rather than just looking at their income.

ARI researchers split the population into four groups based on the results.

The Struggling (16 per cent of the total population),

those On the Edge (11 per cent),

those who are Recently Comfortable (36 per cent),

and those who are Always Comfortable (37 per cent).

There is nothing true in this world. I had enough of "hope and change". There is no transformation, radical or otherwise. Being awaken is the only remedy for our problems. Life is painful. There is no use asking why it is so. It is so...

According to this ARI study people in Canada are...

Using a “pay day loan” type service that offers access to cash but at higher interest rates (11 per cent of Canadians have done this in their lives)

Being late paying rent or mortgage (18 per cent)

Being unable to pay a utility bill (24 per cent)

Having to borrow money for essentials like groceries or transportation (25 per cent)

Living in a place that is too small or too far away from work or otherwise doesn’t meet one’s needs (27 per cent)

Being unable to buy new clothes when they’re needed (39 per cent)

Being unable to afford dental care (40 per cent)

And, being unable to afford good quality groceries and having to buy what’s cheap instead (43 per cent)

“More than one-in-five of the Struggling (22 per cent), for instance, come from households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year – well above the low-income cut-offs for an individual or even a family of four,” the report reads. “Their experiences with the 12 scenarios on the list nevertheless indicate that they are facing genuine financial difficulty, perhaps as a result of factors not captured by questions about their income, such as debt, the cost of living in their areas, or the expenses associated with raising children.”

Canadians with children living at home were asked an additional series of questions about their ability to provide for them. Nearly one-in-five (18 per cent) say they can’t always afford to feed their children as nutritiously as they would like, and nearly one-quarter (24 per cent) are unable to buy their children a requested gift for Christmas or a birthday.

“Think about how many people live in our big cities and how expensive cost of housing is. If you live in Greater Toronto or Greater Vancouver that’s a huge part of it,” said Kurl. “Add to that raising kids - pretty expensive these days. As well as credit card debt and other major, fixed costs. “

Three-in-ten (31 per cent) cannot afford for their kids to participate in after-school sports or music programs

Four-in-ten (41 per cent) haven’t been able to save any money for their children’s post-secondary education

And an even larger number (45 per cent) say they could not afford to pay for a tutor if their child was failing at school

Sunday, July 15, 2018

More Than A Game...

The Soccer World Cup is finished, people were excited but from 32 nations competing there only France celebrated on the end. All others, at one point of time, were disappointed, sad and displeased because their guys have failed to fulfill theirs hopes and expectations.

France will celebrate for awhile and on the next world cup they also will be disappointed just like Germany, Argentina, Italy, Brazil and Uruguay this year.

And this is what life is all about - hopes and expectations and on the end, disappointment.

You spend a great deal of effort maintaining this illusion. You work very hard to make it as solid as possible and never venture too close to the meaning of it. Otherwise you would see right through it and find yourself looking into a mirage. Then you may see your life for what it really is... a great lie.

There are so many contradiction in this world, just like this world cup, that it’s easy to be caught up by one. And why are you doing all this, why are you following the crowd? Yup, to avoid those waves of sadness, emptiness, meaninglessness, alienation and anxiety.

More Than A Game...

In Canada, winning or losing a soccer match isn’t life or death. But for the rest of the world the situation is very different. In fact, football — as it’s known everywhere else around the world — is much more than a game. Football is more than just a sport, is is almost important as a religion with all its tragedies and heroes.

In Croatia, a small country with 4.5 millions of citizens, the impact of football is so great as the recent survey shows that 93 percent of Croatian respondents admittedly would give up food for a week to see Croatia hoist the cup, and around 70 percent would quit their job for a Croatian world cup victory!

In the film Kingdom of Heaven, Saladin is asked What is Jerusalem worth? He answers Nothing, walks away, turns and says Everything. Football’s importance is the same thing. It’s a meaningless game, played for recreation, it is not at all important.

And yet, for many who play it, who watch it every week, for close followers of their favorite club who buy jerseys and posters and tickets, who travel away and take vacation time to watch the World Cup, it is one of the most important things in their lives.

Football is so important because it gives joy and brings a smile and tears on people's faces. It is something which gives them a temporary escape from their simple uneventful lives. It gives people something to talk about, something to support and feel a sense of belonging. It gives jobs to millions of people. It teaches us numerous lessons and values which help us become a better person.

It gives people a reason to live.

In this world, being "normal self" means you have to be insane. 

The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society.

Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.

– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

You may awake, for a brief moment, from this daily life's slumber and look around and wonder what you’re doing here. You may suddenly stop feeling connection to anything. You may see that nothing can give you any pleasure, there is nothing to strive for, nothing you can get or experience to fix it.

Unfortunately, the pointlessness of your basic existence is so obvious.

When that happens, the world can become a really confusing place. So where is the problem? Why this depression?

All come from your idea that the world is true. 

You assume that if the world is true then you are also true. This self-importance is the main reason for the feelings of depression, sadness, emptiness and anxiety.

There is nothing true in this world.

Take it easy!

Slowdown and stop running after all these nonsense! Embrace and enjoy your own meaninglessness. One day you will be forced to stop, the sun will go off and the mirage will go off. Don't say that you were unlucky, you did not reached the water... well, the water was never there.

Once upon a time there was a guy who enjoyed his life.

He was in early 30's, he had a nice BMW and he was going out every night. He had his own company for office repairs and he worked 3-4 hours a day, just to cover his expenses. He enjoyed his life immensely.

His mother was worried for him, Whenever she saw him she used to tell him - My son, you have to be married by now. You need to have children. Who will look after you when you are old? My son, Who will bring you a glass of water on your deathbed?

Slowly, bit by bit, mother's words started coming to man's mind especially the sentence about glass of water on his deathbed. So he finally found the right girl and got married. He stopped going out every day. Now he enjoyed the company of his wife.

After one year his wife gave birth to a baby boy. After the second year of marriage he got a baby girl. Now he start working full hours. He needed money to support family. He stopped going out. Their house become too small for the new family so he bought a bigger house. He got enormous mortgage to pay off so he worked even more. He sold his BMW, bought a minivan but he always remembered that question - Who will bring me a glass of water on my death-bed?

Years were passing, he became older and older. He knew only for work and more work. Vaguely he remembered his old days with nostalgia and sigh. In meantime he got grandchildren... He became an old, tired, sick man.

And one day he was laying in the bed for the last few hours before his death. He was surrounded with his family, the son, daughter, grandsons and granddaughters. Everyone was around him. In his last moments he was thinking about his life and he suddenly said:

Fuck, I am not even thirsty.