Since the last time that I wrote to you about My Yoga Journey, a lot has happened. In between I’ve been traveling with friends to the Gili islands and to Lombok. This is where I took the photos for my second post about My Yoga Journey on the beach. A perfect place to practice your Mysore Ashtanga Yoga. When we came back from Lombok and our friends had left again, it was time to go back to the Shala in Canggu and pick up where we left. I practiced a bit during our travels but I find it more difficult to concentrate when I’m on my own. I prefer to have a few breathing and practicing people around me.
My teacher left Bali for a couple of weeks and I knew that there was another teacher coming for 2 months. As a new yogi I was pretty nervous to get a new teacher again as I’m very stiff and I’m not proud of that. A new teacher has also a new and different kind of style to teach Ashtanga yoga so it would be a new journey again.
New Teacher Means New Experiences
It’s about 3 weeks later and I’ve made so much progress. At least it feels like that. You can’t see much difference, I think, but I do feel so much better since my new teacher Nick Evans is helping me in Mysore Ashtanga Yoga. He focusses on the breathing, the sound of the breathing and then the postures. I find it hard to find the deep and loud breathing, especially in the beginning of my practice. After a few postures it becomes a bit easier but I have to keep focussing to not forget and breathe through my mouth. Bad habit! This is also a way for the teacher to check if you are focussing or if your mind is wandering off. When your breathing is gone, your mind is somewhere else as well.
Back to my teacher, Nick! Nick is a very loving, generous and friendly person. He has a very open personality and he takes you with him on the yoga train before you know it. His enthusiasm and love for the practice gives the practice so much energy that even the pro’s in our shala feel everything more intensive than before.
His wife Kathy also teaches Ashtanga Yoga in the evening. Sometimes she comes in, in the morning to practice, and helps out us when Nick is very busy helping all the others in the class. I love that our yoga class is very individual but still feels like it’s one group practicing together. I come in and start my practice and along the way Nick, or Kathy, helps me by pushing or pulling me. This actually helps really good because sometimes you can’t find that pose yourself so when someone shows you, your body will remember this and find it back when you practice again.
I will show you some of my new postures Nick has taught me plus some of the ones I’m doing from the beginning but have changed as well.
One of the first poses I do is the upward facing dog. It’s not a difficult pose but because I’m getting more flexible now, it’s easier to bend more up than before.
This is a photo of the same pose only 2 months ago. I do see the difference in my arms. They are more stretched now. In the beginning this was too hard and I felt more pain in my lower back.
The next posture is called downward facing dog. I still find it the most hardest posture there is. I’m working on straightening my legs at the moment, so that’s why my upper body is a bit more forward instead of downwards. When Nick pushes my back towards my legs I go a bit downwards but it gives a lot of pressure into my legs. I guess that’s exactly what needs to happen. Eventually my heels should touch the ground, with straight legs and my upper body relaxed.
Now, have a look at the same posture about 2 months ago…
SUCH a big difference in the legs but my upper body is more relaxed. Hopefully I will find the perfect combination soon; relaxed upper body and stretched legs! As soon as my heels touch the ground I will share this with you! That would be soooo great!
Together with Nick I practice this difficult standing sequence called Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. The hardest part of this posture is 1. stretching your leg and holding your toe and 2. finding the balance to not fall over. This is why in the beginning you need help to practice this posture. Without the help I would fall over and would never experience the feeling of it and, I would never stretch my leg as well as I do with help.
This photo has been taken within a second. Because after maybe 5 seconds I start to move and will fall over eventually.
When I finish this posture I do the Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana by myself. Somehow I can find my balance in this post more easy than in the one before. It’s still a modification because in this posture you should lean over to the floor on 1 leg but first you have to come to a stage where you can touch your toes with your hand that goes around your back. Do you see what I mean? I’m still far away from my toes but your muscles get longer and longer every day when you practice so eventually you will reach them and then it’s time to bend over to the floor.
I’ve heard that the following posture is part of the warriors pose. I have to find out if this is true. It’s a very difficult pose because after 2 breathings your hands want to go down, your shoulders are starting to ache and your knees will start shaking. Now I see myself in the picture, I notice that I should go lower than this. Maybe almost like sitting in a chair.
After this one, you will get in the Virabadrasana 1 and 2 pose. The same counts for these ones, it’s extremely hard and it makes you sweat a lot. Keep this positions for about 5 breathings each in both directions.
When you’ve finished the standing sequences, you will go further with the seated ones. They start with the Dandasana and the Paschmottanasana A, B and C. It all comes down, for me, to touching my toes and feet without bending my knees. I suffer a lot during this posture but when I focus on the breathing it feels less painful. Still, I need help to push me to my toes.
Do you remember this posture from my first post? I couldn’t touch my ankles then but now I can! WIEHOE!
And this was 2 months ago..
Nick will stay in Bali and teach Mysore Ashtanga until the end of December so if you are looking for a nice shala in Bali, Canggu exactly, definitely pay our shala a visit and see how you like it.
How is your progress going? Are you still a beginner like me or is your yoga going so well that you made lots of progress?
You can find my other posts about My Yoga Journey in the menu above.