Saturday, June 29, 2013

Farewell Tribute to My Teachers

I am quite sad to have to say farewell to two of my teachers who are leaving the country and I am writing this post as a tribute to them for being part of my yoga journey.  

Yesterday morning was my last class with Kunal  who has helped me to progress in my Ashtanga practice for the past year.

I remember my first class with him was when I attended a trial class at Chi Fitness in April last year.  I was the only one who turned up for the Ashtanga class that day and ended up doing a Mysore style practice with him looking on and assisting me in some of the poses. I think it was from that class that I know I have found another teacher who will have an impact in my yoga journey as I decided to sign up for my membership with Chi Fitness after the class as I wanted to continue attending his classes so that I can learn from him. 

As I could only attend his Ashtanga class on Sunday at 4.30 pm, I always tried not to miss the class as all his other classes were in the morning or early evening when I was working.   I would also go to his Hatha class which was a breath-focused practice where he would emphasized the connection of  the  breath with the movement in the poses whenever I was on leave during a weekday. 

As Kunal teaches the traditional Mysore way, I could see my own progress during this past year under his guidance as I had to wait for him to give me the poses; from needing his help to bind in Marichyasana D to binding on my own, being able to catch my fingers in Supta Kurmasana as he helped me to go deeper in the pose, holding my chin with my fingers in Garbha Pindasana and given full Primary and also Pashasana from the Intermediate series

I will always remember his subtle way of telling me to align my feet correctly in the standing poses, keeping my fingers together in the poses, having me do two to three sets of going up and down for Urdhva Dhanurasana while walking my hands in and him doing crow pose on my legs as I did my bridge pose in yesterday's class which I know is his way of reminding me to keep on working on strengthening my legs for  the dropbacks

This morning was my last class with Tea who is a very dedicated teacher who always prepare her sequence of poses based on a theme for the class.   Her theme-based class would have us doing poses that work on opening our hip and shoulders in one class, a core strengthening sequence in another class or a back bending class which would start with poses to open the upper, middle and lower back.  

I will always remember her encouragement to hold on for one more breath in the pose, to work the legs by keeping our abductors engaged  and to listen to the breath to keep our mind  focus as we do the poses.

Thank you Kunal and Tea for all your teaching and guidance and being a light in my yoga journey and I wish both of you all the best in your endeavours.  Namaste!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Just Breathe....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Showing up for our Practice

For the past two Sundays, only two practitioners including myself were in the Ashtanga  class at 4.30 pm with Kunal.  Normally, there would be 5 to 6 practitioners coming to the class.   Although the class is an Ashtanga Led class, Kunal would ask those of us who are quite well-versed in the sequence to do a Mysore practice while he would lead the rest of the students who are not familiar with the sequence. 

I have heard some students who do not turn up for the class regularly complaining that they are not able to progress in their practice.   My answer to them is “Just show up”.   

Showing up means we are making the effort to change and along the way, we will find the transformation in our practice. 

If you do not attend the class regularly, you will always end up starting all over again each time you go to the class if you also do not have a regular home practice.     

Showing up for the class also means a lot to the teacher as most studios look at student numbers and you may one day find the class you want to attend being taken out from the schedule.

So my fellow Ashtanga practitioners, hope to see you back in class soon.