Richard Freeman’s back with a new Ask the Expert, and it is on a topic we’ve juggled around here a bit: doing a shorter practice (especially when practicing alone). Here’s Richard’s answer, but do check the link for the full nuance of the question:
It’s important to take some days off and occasionally to have a lighter or abbreviated practice. One method is to do the standing poses and then either the first or the second half of the Primary Series followed by backbends and the finishing poses. Another even shorter alternative is to do 3-each of both sun salutations, backbending and then the finishing poses.
It is also important to notice if you find yourself consistently doing one of these lighter, modified forms. If so, are you avoiding certain areas of the practice, and if so, you should investigate what that is about.
Richard, too, has touched on this topic before.
As I’ve talked about in past posts, I’ve certainly found benefit to the occasional shorter practice. For me, much of that comes from being able to focus more intently on certain poses and not having to reserve energy for the entire, usual sequence. Perhaps a lot of the benefit just comes from shaking things up — and Richard seems to be suggesting in his latest answer that there may be value to that, and I guess I’d be curious to hear him discuss that aspect more explicitly — and getting a new view of things, a new focus. You know, getting out of the “rut” that perhaps we can fall into with Ashtanga, especially if you are “just” practicing First Series. (That limits your options.)
I’ll admit to defaulting typically to the first half of Primary when I do abbreviate things. I don’t think that’s because I’m avoiding anything later on, but who knows.
Posted by Steve