Ashtanga and pain, and Hanuman

Ah, pain.

There’s nothing quite like it. And, often, there’s nothing quite like talking about (or complaining about) it.

Given the intense asana nature of Ashtanga, pain (and injury) is almost a natural topic. There was David Garrigues’ great video on the topic a while back.

This month, along with the piece on asana as all you might need, Yoga Workshop’s Ty Landrum also has posted about “Ashtanga and Pain.” From his piece:

Many Ashtanga practitioners who experience this release then develop a fixation for pain. They realize that, by breathing through pain, they can temporarily suspend the sense of having an ego. On that account, some practitioners start to seek out pain, as if it were the secret to an enlightened state of mind. They confuse pain for the soma or nectar of Yoga that quickens the spirit and dispatches false identifications. So they attempt to induce pain in themselves by pulling aggressively against their tensions, with injury as the inevitable result. This approach, sadly, has become quite rampant. In some circles, it has become a badge of honor to break a rib! There is no wonder, then, that Ashtanga suffers the reputation of being brutish.

Worth your time. More Confluence coverage on the subject here.

Also, you may have missed it, but we had a pretty stellar interstellar event on Tuesday, as Tim Miller relates this week:

We have a very interesting planetary conjunction this week of Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter—Venus and Jupiter were exactly conjunct today at 12:29pm PDT, with Mercury just two degrees away. By the Sidereal Zodiac, Mercury entered the sign of Mithuna (Gemini) on Monday, Venus will follow tomorrow, and Jupiter will join them on Friday. In the western sky this week, half an hour after sunset, we can see the planets Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter close together just above the horizon. The brightest will be Venus, then Jupiter, and Mercury the faintest. To make them really easy to find, they are currently positioned in the Nakshatra known as Mriga Shira—the “Deer’s Head”—a small cluster of stars in the constellation of Orion.

If you know your Ramayana, you know where talk of a deer is headed: to Sita’s abduction. The deer — the power of illusion — enchants Sita, and she is of course stolen away by Ravana — representing desire, lust, greed, etc. What happens when you are overwhelmed by your lust and greed? “The good news is that if we are captured by the demon king, eventually Hanuman will find us, console us, and bring Ram to rescue us.”

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

One thought on “Ashtanga and pain, and Hanuman”

  1. That’s a bit much…I don’t know of any Ashtangi’s who actively seek pain. They may accept it as part of the practice but they don’t actively seek it like they want it or something. They may search for intensity and a feeling of aliveness but pain, I don’t think so…

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