One should not overstretch or understretch

“One should not overstretch or understretch.  If one thing is overstretched, something else gets understretched.  If overstretching comes from a swollen ego, then understretching results from a lack of confidence.” BKS Iyengar

 “The challenge of yoga is to go beyond our limits – within reason.  We continually expand the frame of the mind by using the canvas of the body.  It is as if you were to stretch a canvas more and create a larger surface for a painting.  But we must respect the present form of our body.  If we pull too fast or too much at once we will we will rip the canvas.  If the practice of today damages the practice of tomorrow it is not correct practice.” BKS Iyengar

These are quotes I keep in mind when I practice.

BKS Iyengar, Logan Airport Boston 2005

I purchased “Light on Life” in 2005 when Guruji came to Boston for his ‘Light on Life” tour.  During this time my practice was very different.  I had to keep my ego in check and not blast past my limits. I had to work on finding the intelligence of the pose and remind myself that the beauty in the asana is not the advanced variation of the pose, but the journey it takes to get there.

Now, as I grow older I have to make an effort not to understretch.  Not to practice mechanically, to reach toward my limitations and dance along, and a little beyond those limits.  The challenge is stretching the canvas without tearing it.  I have to work through my injuries safely, but at the same time I have to work harder to get stronger.

My work is to reignite the joy of playing with stretching the canvas, to find the balance between overstretching or understretching and creating a larger surface for painting my asanas.

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Sweat is 99% Water, 1% Natural Stuff and 0% Toxins

So twist and do so knowing that you are helping create movement in your internal organs, but in NO WAY are they “wrung out.”  That is not possible and if that happens to you or inside of you please go to a hospital, because you are going to die.

Source: Sweat is 99% Water, 1% Natural Stuff and 0% Toxins

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In Mumbai, a Catholic priest-yogi attacks Western propaganda against yoga

father joe

Father Joseph Pereira, who teaches Iyengar yoga around the world, believes its opponents are extremist ‘God addicts’.

Is yoga incompatible with Christianity? Conservative Christians in Europe and the US have been posing this question with growing fervour in the past few months, accusing India’s biggest export to the West of propagating Hinduism and leading Christians down the path of evil.  ….Read more

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Question of the Month: Do you practice yoga on mountains or are they just yoga selfies? What is the significance of the poses you post?

If I am at the top of a mountain with my husband or a friend, the photos are mostly yoga selfies.  When I am alone on a summit, there is a practice and each pose relates to how I feel about reaching a particular peak.

epud katahdinThere are many photos of me practicing Eka pada Urdhva dhanurasana (one-footed upward bow pose).  I practice this and other backbends on summits, when I am elated and feeling successful.  They are a celebration, a way for me to embrace the feeling that anything is possible.  I also discovered, while practicing this pose on Mount Eisenhower, that it obliterates my asthma symptoms giving me a burst of energy and the ability to breathe bowing hanumanmore easily.

I practice Hanumanasana (Monkey pose) and bowing Hanuman when my brain is filled with doubt and I need to find the confidence and determination to move on. The story of Hanuman (The Hindu Monkey God) 

warrior iii precipiceWarrior poses, in particular Warrior III, make me feel powerful.  They provide the strength to continue when life’s problems follow me onto the mountains; things that can’t be fixed, that have no solution, but you have to endure.  Warrior poses help you overcome fear.  I practiced Warrior III at the start of the Precipice Trail and at the top; winning that day’s battle over my fear of heights.

ut magallowyUtthita Trikonasana (Triangle pose) and Vrksasana (Tree pose) help relieve (at least for me) hot flashes by creating space in the body.  Hiking with a pack curls you forward, making you small, bringing on frequent flushes of hot flashes. These poses treecreate a counterbalance of expansion reducing the flashes.

I discovered another benefit while practicing them on Mount Magalloway.    Opening your body wide, taking as much space as possible, brings about a wonderful feeling of freedom and lightness.

happinessUrdhva hastasana  (Upward  hands pose) is pure exuberance.  Almost everyone has practiced this pose, most without even knowing it.  Watch people during a fast moving soccer or football game when a team has scored; they jump up with their arms held high – you can feel their excitement.  It’s an all-encompassing feeling of joy.  A focus on the present moment.  An understanding that in this moment, the world is a magnificent place and nothing else matters. I experienced this on Imp.  It was a hike where so many of life’s little obstacles tried to get in the way of me hiking this mountain.  I was just so excited to be there, on that beautiful little mountain sitting crawfordpeak.

Sometimes I don’t practice yoga poses, I just sit.  I sit and take in all of the beauty, in silence.  I let it wash over and through me.

Alone on a mountain, I let the heart tell me what to practice.  It always leads me in the right direction.

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Why I hate Practicing Iyengar Yoga

An interesting perspective on Iyengar Yoga written by a Vinyasa yoga lover.

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Successful Yoga Therapy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Interesting study using Isometric action in Yoga asana and CFS.  Successful Yoga Therapy for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Conversation between Edwin Bryant and Rosa Santana


Rosa Santana conduct a revealing interview on the deeper tradition of Yoga and the spirituality of BKS Iyengar. with scholar Edwin Bryant, author of “The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary” with a foreword by B.K.S. Iyengar.

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