Archives for posts with tag: resistance

I used to blog–a personal journal really–and I called my blog The Eternal Beginner. I’ve felt that way a lot with my life–like every day, every week, every month, every year was a new beginning.
Teaching is a lot like that. Despite teaching the same course and the same themes (with a little variation in the readings I give to my students), I always feel as if I was teaching again for the first time. I used to think of it as an affliction–that it meant something was wrong with me as a teacher–but now I’ve grown to see it as a real gift. Being able to take each new teaching day as a beginning has helped me be more open to the reality of my students, that it’s always a new set of people that I encounter with each term at the university.
I think this has helped me a great deal with my practice of ashtanga as well. This week has been a breakdown in the sense that I only hit the mat for four days out of six. That’s certainly not according to my original promise for myself that I would practice ashtanga everyday with the traditional break once a week for rest.
In the past, I would have been extremely hard on myself. I would have considered this an utter failure and have sworn off the practice completely.
There are things that I’ve been resisting in my life at the moment, particularly with my relationship with my parents and our living situation (I still live with them), and part of that resistance has translated into my resistance to the practice as well.
So, it’s time to move forward, move one, and begin, again.


Tuesdays are teaching days at the university, so Tuesday mornings can get manic sometimes. Today was one of those times. I powered through a thirty minute led “primary express” class I had found on, which went reasonably well. Following the vinyasa count of the teacher helps me get through Surya B–having to focus on the breath and listen to the teacher cue you to the next transition takes my mind away from the complaining and helps direct attention to the breath and the movement from one asana to another.

The class itself draw from the standing and seated sequence from ashtanga, and was similar to (but not exactly the same as) David Swenson’s 30 min short form. I’m planning to alternate between these two on hectic mornings. I’d rather have a short practice rather than none at all.

Oh wow, one week since I committed to a daily practice! It’s a milestone for me. On to writing about practice!

Day 5, Saturday, was a traditional ashtanga rest day. I had a full day of baking and errands ahead of me (I have a small custom-made cupcake business on the side), so I relished getting extra hours of sleep. I finished my baking earlier than I had anticipated, and this gave me a free hour and a half before getting ready to for dinner out with my fiance.  I also wanted to get my body in motion–baking, frosting, and decorating cupcakes usually requires one to stay standing in a particular position for extended periods of time, and I needed to shake out the accumulated tension.

I ended up doing a 30min restorative sequence that I had downloaded free from about 6 months ago. I enjoy this sequence a lot because it’s full of great hip and shoulder openers and forward bends. I have tight hips from sitting down in front of the computer, and tight hamstrings from standing a lot (apart from baking, I teach at a university, and I project my voice best when standing, so I always conduct lectures while standing/walking around the classroom). I’m seriously considering incorporating it into my daily practice (I could feel the difference in the succeeding days), maybe in the evening.

Day 6, Sunday, I had gone to bed late (again!) and overslept. I gave myself the reason that there wasn’t enough time to practice that morning because of my schedule, so I went about the rest of the day. I finished with my deliveries and errands earlier than anticipated, though, which again gave me about two free hours. And I thought to myself, sod this, and hit the mat. Since I had a considerable amount of free time, I did 3 Surya Namaskar As, 3 Surya Namaskar Bs, the full standing sequence  (I can’t do the full poses yet, so I did modified Utthita Hasta Padangustasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana), most of the seated sequence (modified Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, no vinyasas between sides, just between poses, no Marichyasana B and D), Salamba Sarvangasana, Plow, Bridge, Paschimottanasana, and the four closing postures.

I had a big revelation today, Day 7. My biggest challenge so far in my practice has been getting past Surya Namaskar B! It’s not yet clear to me why, but my experience of Surya B is such a chore. I take too many breaths between each Surya B, I feel like it’s so boring, like it takes SOOOO LOOOONG, I resist all the way. But once I get past it, it’s smooth sailing until Navasana! Part of me wants to get to the bottom of it–why, why, why?–but another part of me recognizes that answering why is not directly correlated to me getting over my resistance to it. Heh. 😀

I did the same practice as yesterday, as today was holiday here and that gave me the luxury of time. It felt great–after Surya B, everything went smoothly, and I stayed focused with no unnecessary breaths.

Now, to focus on finishing my revisions to the third chapter of my master’s thesis…