Saturday, December 5, 2020

Ashtanga and weight lifting

I snapped these selfies today but you will see how I am going to look in three months. Next year I will be 56 years old. According to the statistics I am a senior citizen. I may get discount for a subway drive. And I'm not sure should I celebrate that fact or should I start crying?

My answer to the age problem is simple. In December I have started weight lifting before yoga practice. My intention is to go to gym once they open it after the lockdown. I want to look good and I wish you to look good too. So start practicing, start moving, get out from the chair and couch...

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.

The most basic and modified version of this ashtanga practice is quite challenging. It takes me on average 45 minutes to complete the Half Primary.

The longer you practice the more you notice how hard it really is. It is utterly intimidating and defeating endeavor. 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.

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.

I am no longer certain what my "outside" purpose is. What drives the world no longer drives me. Seeing the madness of our world so clearly, I may appear somewhat alienated from the culture around. I will stick to my practice and try to be no longer run by the ego.

Only what I really have is time and ashtanga practice to fill out this empty existence. It is a product of my will and self-determination. In this practice I have no reliance on God, teachers, gurus, swamis or any other agent, only authority is my inner will.

Ashtanga Yoga does not increase my self-esteem, it does not give me self-satisfaction or any hope for self-improvement. I 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.

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