There are some benefits to the occasional short practice

As I noted last night, I snuck in a short practice after work.

I wasn’t sure what, or if, I wanted to practice. And then I happened upon Richard Freeman’s suggestions for just my quandary. So I got to the mat, did a few Suryanamaskaras, a handful of standing and seated poses, and then the closing sequence.

Guess what? It proved extremely enlightening, especially when it came to my breath.

I don’t think I’ve made it any secret that the practice is tough for me, mainly due to flexibility issues. I think I have the strength and stamina, but not the hamstrings!

I also know that I’m a long way from the long, slow, steady breaths that should be animating my practice. But when working through all of First, well, it’s hard to stay focused on the breath, and the bandhas and the dristis and — here’s the kicker — be pulling yourself deeper and deeper into poses. At least, it’s hard for me.

Last night, though, I knew I had fewer poses to conquer (if you will), and that enabled me to get that much more out of each one. (This may be an argument for my stopping after navasana — the only trouble is, that doesn’t on an every day basis challenge my strength and stamina enough. At least, given my less-than-perfect practice. But I digress.)

For whatever reason, I seemed to focus more on the breath than bandhas or dristi, and it showed me where I could — and should — be.

So that’s something for me to think about. Should a short practice, when I can heighten my focus, be something I add in? How can I bring those longer breaths to the longer practice? I know, from experience, I’m capable.

Quite a few lessons, in other words.

Of course, those lessons went straight in the toilet during this morning’s Led class, especially when my teacher was sitting on me in Kurmasana and — and! — Supta Kurmasana.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

5 thoughts on “There are some benefits to the occasional short practice”

  1. I am glad to read the advantages of a short practice …I have been holding off the urge to shorten my practice because I think I might find it a relief…Now I have something to look forward to.

    1. Hi Chris.

      It’s all about finding something else to be the “challenge,” I’ve found. If I do a short practice — there’s Richard’s idea, David’s or Nancy’s, which is 5 As and Bs followed by the closing poses — I try to focus on my breath, which I sometimes can lose in a longer practice.


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