Asana – Mediocre or Magic?
Raquel Salvador. Our Tribe teacher on the TTC in Bali.
Sometime in the distant past………
…….From the mat, I remember sneaky peaking out of the corner of my eye as a someone nearby practised sun salutations. Falling into complete awe. I was simply dumbfounded, amazed, and admittedly a little bit jealous, at how smoothly she was flowing. How effortless she moved from one position to the next. Transitions light, soft, graceful and soundless. Springing lightly from adho mukha svanasana and landing softly as a feather into uttanasana. To me, it was simply as if I was watching magic. She had something that I didn’t have, and whatever that something was I wanted it!
Today I no longer glance at others my focus stays with me on the mat fixed on a drishti point or turned inwards. When I practice I am in awe, I am in awe of the intelligence of the body, I am in awe of the power of the breath, I am in awe of the sense of delight, joy and aliveness that arises in a truly effortless flow. And yes, oh yes, let’s not forget…the magic! It really feels like magic!
It really is magic!
Magic: the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
Magic: A quality of being beautiful and delightful in a way that seems remote from daily life
Magic: Exceptional skill or talent
So how do you get magic in your asana practice?
There are no magic wands to help you! There are no shortcuts! There are no magic pills!
BUT – There’s a magical formula:
Know-how + Practice + Time + Understanding = Magic
Thank goodness it’s not rocket science! ☺
Every yoga practitioner can develop the technique, skill and aptitude to get to that place of magic.
The all-important ‘know-how’. I was practising yoga and even teaching for many years before I actually got some decent training. I was flexible and strong and could contort my body into all manner of crazy asana but was I doing yoga? Many of the essential ingredients that transform asana from mere gymnastics to yoga were missing. There was little understanding of the basic fundamentals. What I was doing was shallow, superficial, sporadic. It was spending extended periods of study with teachers like Godfrey Devereux that gave my practice depth. Training with accomplished teachers gifted me with insight and skill, fuelled my spiritual aspiration and turned me into a sincere practitioner. Being introduced to the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga was mind-blowing. Learning a practice method was revolutionary. Contextualising what I was doing made all the difference.
Ya gotta Practice! Pattabhi Jois says ‘1% Theory & 99% Practice’.
Having a regular practice goes without saying. Anything is achievable with practice. Nobody is born an expert. Expertise is something that is built upon day by day, month by month, year by year. Going to a yoga class once a week for 10 years is lovely but it doesn’t make you a yoga practitioner. Whats needed is the dedication to self-practice. Practice makes the practitioner.
Everything comes with time. Continuity of practice is what delivers you into the deeper transformations that yoga offers. The real gift of yoga is not the ‘feel good high’ that we get immediately after practice. It’s the deeply therapeutic effects that create physical, mental and emotional healing. Its the expanded awareness. Its the increased vibration. Its the slow and gradual shift in consciousness. Yoga is a process that requires time.
With know-how, practice and time understanding arises. A natural intelligence within is awakened. Initially somatic and then deeper, into the inner realms of our Being and the deepest regions of the mind. This final ingredient unfolds naturally and spontaneously as we deepen into practice. We experience yoga, in its truest sense, on all levels and in all areas of our life. Understanding helps us to see into the interconnected nature of all things. It allows us to surrender and breathe into the fullness of our Being and the wholeness of our existence.
Back to the Know-how
Think about the know-how as the basic fundamentals of asana practice.
Close your eyes for a moment and ask yourself what you consider are the asana fundamentals?
How many of the following came to mind?
Breath – Bandhas – Foundation – Core – Drishti – Vinyasa – Sthira – Sukham- Spirallic dynamics – Yama – Niyama
Of those that came to mind which do you really understand? Embody? Utilise?
Which of those hold a deep meaning for you?
Which do you naturally and effortlessly express?
Don’t worry, unless you have done countless workshops or completed a yoga teacher training its normal to have some gaps in your yoga knowhow. There are just some things that you don’t get taught in bog standard yoga classes. We are here to help with a couple of offerings.
Get some ‘Know-how’ firsthand. Come along to a ‘Shine in your Sun Salutations’ workshop. A special offering to share ‘knowhow’ magic ingredients. The workshop blends theory and practice to create a deeply profound learning experience. Supporting you to safely and effectively advance your yoga practice. Giving you tips & tricks to transform your sun salutations and ultimately develop all aspects of your asana practice. A fun and rewarding interactive experience to inspire and empower you.
YOGA TEACHER TRAINING
For a truly magical experience immerse yourself into yoga study and practice on one of our yoga teacher training courses.