When half an Ashtanga practice is more than a full one

For reasons entirely related to work, I had to cut my practice short on Friday  — despite its being a Led class.

And that’s OK with me.

As I’ve talked about, I definitely have to modify my practice, but I do practice the entire Primary series. And while there are poses that are absolutely challenging, especially the later seated poses, I have found that those deep forward folds help loosen up my back, hips and hamstrings. In other words, doing all those poses helps me do all the poses.

It’s a version of the “the only preparation for Urdhva Dhanurasana is… Urdhva Dhanurasana.”

Yes, the only preparation for the Primary Series is … the Primary Series.

But Friday, I only had time to go to Navasana. And this morning — the next morning — I have soreness and fatigue different from if I’d done the whole Led. That’s pretty typical on days when I do have to shorten my practice.

The simple reason? When I don’t have to pace myself so much, I can go deeper, work harder, consider the poses I am doing just a bit more. Plus, I suspect, it just changes things up enough — because, yes, there is a routine to the Primary that can be a problem if you aren’t aware of it and don’t react smartly to that fact.

For me, that means altering the practice, in a way I think (and hope) is respectful and maintains the purpose of Ashtanga. (You think you have the Primary series down? Try going to an Intro class with an accomplished teacher and see where you might be “cheating” a little.)

My psoas certainly are telling me I did the right thing.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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