December 2 2019 | Asana, Ashtanga yoga, Pranayama
Yoga is the practice of the transformation of our mind and body through the conscious stilling of the patterns of our thoughts. Yoga is the path of finding our true power, true sense of self. It empowers us to reconnect with our life purpose and with the present moment. If our body and mind are not balanced, – we are not capable to focus deeply and be still, so the transformational goal of yoga is unlikely to be unveiled.
When you are in a postural yoga class, following the guidance and the form, which teacher demonstrates, – you follow the teacher, trying to replicate the pose, to synchronise the breath as instructed, to keep up with the whole class. This is a great way to start learning initial techniques of yoga – to be guided. But after a while, I find it to be quite a big compromise to attend only guided yoga classes, especially if you aim at personal transformation.
Why? – First, you compromise your breath’s depth and length trying to follow everyone. Second, your eyes (thus your mind) constantly attempt to align with the teacher, ensuring you do what everyone else does – so you are never in the present moment. Third, you are not the owner of your own ‘fate’ on your mat – you are just a follower. Fourth, the poses and breathing techniques offered are generic and not tailored for your body, your current state of mind and your goals. For me, it is too big of a compromise after 2-4 months of the initial guided practice. I personally love occasional guided classes, but the real work starts when I guide my own self.
Teacher-assisted self-practice, also called Mysore practice, in my eyes, enables optimal engagement of student’s own agency of awareness, synchronicity, and intelligence. How does it work?
We start from the beginners course of 20 hours spread over 4-5 weeks. We teach our students sequences of breathing and postures, repeating them many times, so even after only 1-2 sessions, our students establish solid 20-30 min of independent yoga practice, feeling safe and steady in their new little routine. They can practise postural sequences and breathing techniques in their own pace, based on their own abilities, their lung capacity and current state, rather than trying to catch up with the teacher and the class.
Learning to practise independently is a profound, life changing experience of connecting and understanding deeply your breath, your body, and your mind. We work towards being able to become masters of our mind and body, going deeper into the goal of yoga – realising our true nature, which lies far beyond mind and body phenomenon. The level of focus developed through self-practice has an immense effect not only on your postural practice, but on the focus you are able to maintain in your daily life.
The benefits of practising yoga postures, breathing, meditation and self-relaxation are well known for its healing capacity. Yoga helps us overcome life challenges, reconnect with our purpose and walk through life with better health and more grace, ease, light, and love.
Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a beautiful practice, bringing so much health, youthfulness, wellbeing and resilience to the lives of so many. We are honoured to be able to share this great gift with our community in Horsham.
With Ashtanga you will have guided classes, when the group is coming together as one breath, one body, learning new techniques together or just floating through the well known sequences of synchronised breath and movement.
And with Ashtanga you will have teacher-assisted self-practice (Mysore), where the teacher guides you on one-to-one basis to develop your own practice, tailored for yourself, your life goals and optimising your path to balance.
So why don’t you give yourself time and space to explore the magics of yoga? In both guided and self-practice format…
Warm regards and namaste,
Irina Pashkevich Bourdier
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