Begin Anew by Amy Duncan
It is September, the beginning of fall (9/22) and a new school year.
It is time to come inside, from beaches and mountains, travels and vacations.
It is time to begin anew your yoga asana practice.
It is time to return to your mat.
The purpose of yoga is to bring silence to the mind, to not live in the past nor in the future but to be present. Each time you come to your mat, come with a beginner’s mind. Remember as a young child your wonder as you discovered the world. Come with that same wonder to your mat. Bring nothing but your willingness, desire to practice the yoga asana.
Sutra I.12 tells us that ‘practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.’ Abhyasa and vairagya. Abhyasa means repeated practice, vairagya means freedom from desires, detachment, renunciation.
And I.14 ‘long uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations.’
Long, uninterrupted, alert: long means over a long period of time, years; uninterrupted means don’t stop your regular practice, keep going; and alert – pay attention, listen to your body.
Detachment: free from desires and passions, not being attached to what success or failure we had on our mat yesterday or what we hope for tomorrow.
Be committed to you practice. Students say they don’t have the discipline to practice. It is not discipline – such a guilt-inducing word – but commitment. Commitment is the state of being obligated, something pledged. So pledge yourself, obligate yourself, commit yourself to your practice.
How to get started
On your mat – take it out of your car trunk and find a spot in your home for it
Clear a space in your home for your practice, a place to keep your mat and other props
You don’t want to have to move furniture first out of the way, then have to put it back
Buy something new to inspire you: a new mat or prop, a new T-shirt, a picture or quote
What to practice
There are many sequences in the various Iyengar related books
You do not have to do the whole sequence, some of them are long and this can be daunting, just practice a section or group of poses.
The New York Iyengar Institute has created 4 beginning sequences.
There are copies at the studio
Poses from your weekly class. Make notes after class to help you remember.
Poses that you are avoiding/don’t like to do. The ones that make you groan when the teacher announces it.
How to practice
One pose at a time. This is how we teach the asana, practice the same way.
“Play” with the pose – what is the gross shape of the pose?
What other poses might prepare you for this pose?
What props might help you deepen your knowledge of this pose?
Write down a few poses to do or an entire sequence of poses
Or just come to your mat, sit quietly, chant 3 Oms and listen to what your body wants to do next.
Join Amy Duncan in class on Wednesday 5:45 – 7:15 pm level 1 and Sunday 10:15 – 11:45 am Level 1-2