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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:13 pm 
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I've recently taken up yoga (Ashtanga, for those who are interested), in an attempt to recover some of the flexibility that excessive cycling has stolen from me. I'm not very good yet, but I'm enjoying it, and finding it quite relaxing.

I was looking for more information about this form of yoga, when I found some traditional prayers associated with it that I've not heard before (my teacher concentrates more on the physical side of things than the spiritual). The closing prayer is:

May all be well with mankind.
May the leaders of the earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path.

May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred.
May all the worlds be happy.


Like I say, there could be worse things to pray.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Ashtanga is the only form of yoga my T'ai Chi teacher would even vaguely consider. All the others are bad for you, according to him.

Sam

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:37 pm 
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How is it?
I need to do something - I am losing suppleness fast but I don't like the mumbo jumbo that comes with some forms of yoga. Would you care to give a mumbo jumbo quotient score?

And you've been wielding that big spoon again haven't you?? :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:27 pm 
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Me? Spooning with Mr Walker? Surely not!

I'm finding yoga pretty good, but that's probably due to the teacher, who seems pretty level-headed*, and concentrates more on the movements than becoming one with the universe. It has a bit of mumbo jumbo, for example, the pattern of breathing. You're supposed to breathe in a special way, constricting the throat, and limiting the air that you take in. This generates heat, which, according to the traditional practitioners, "boils the blood and cleanses the body of poisons". According to my teacher, and my way of thinking, the heat just means that your body and muscles get warmer, and more supple, so you can do the postures more effectively.

The breathing is very important, as you have to breathe in and out at certain points when you go through a fluid set of moves. This actually makes moves easier, as you time the routine based on your breathing rate. It is also easier to lift as you breathe in, and fold as you breathe out. (Interestingly, my ski instructor this year was also trying to make us breathe in and out at specific points on the parallel turn).

It makes sense that there are set routines of moves, so that you always follow a move that, for example, stretches your back one way with a move that then stretches it the other way. It's also reasonably hard work - none of this lazy Ladies-Wot-Lunch type of wimpy exercise, but usualy an hour and a half of pouring sweat**.

It's very satisfying when a posture you've been trying and failing for weeks suddenly goes into place, and afterwards I find my brain feels strangely stoned with an odd mixture of tiredness and alertness. It's also noticably improving my suppleness and posture in everyday life, and not just the gym.

I've just ordered myself a couple of books on it:

This one, recommended by my yoga teacher, and this one, which I've flicked through in a bookshop, and decided that it had easy-to-follow notation, and helpful chapters on which postures to do to alleviate period pain***, although it also had a load of boring crap about pregnancy.

K :)

*Although I think I have convinced her to come on the Dun Run this year, so she's obviously not entirely sane :D

**In fact, I usualy find my toes are too sweaty to hold on to for some of the stretches. I think I've identified a niche market for toe sweat bands. 8)

***I suffer from dysmenorrhea so badly that sometimes I can't stand up. :(


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