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 Asanas - Postures and Physical Culture
 surya namaskar
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2017 :  6:27:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi everyone

When it comes to asanas I'm a novice. I have been practicing the surya namaskar for the last two weeks and have a few questions on it. I usually do it in the morning before I do the other exercises I started two weeks ago and everything leads up to meditation which concludes my Yoga session. However I am starting to do my core exercises again for my back and mid section. I have developed those over many years to deal with my back which I injured 40 years ago.

My questions are:
1)I inhale or exhale going into each position then hold my breath for about 4 seconds, then move into the next position. I just came up with the holding my breath part myself and want to know if that is a good idea.
2)As I get into position I kind of squeeze out all my air or take a comfortabley full breath as I gently squeeze into the streatch part of the final part of going into the pose. I don't over do the stretch or the breath, but at the same time I gently do them as fully as comforatably possible. Does that sound right?
3)I continue doing full Surya Namaskar's until I'm well warmed up. Then I lay down in the corpse pose to practice a tensing and relaxing exercise before moving into some pretty intese Pranyama exercises that culminate in a very intense(for me at 59 yr's old) Bhastrika. Then, all pumped up with oxygen, I meditate. Can someone with lots of Yoga experience please comment on how you think I could improve this overall routine without changing or adding anything new to it?

Basically I just would like an expert to tweak it up a bit as I only retained about 10% of the original lesson. I will be going to see my Guru about once every three weeks for my next lesson. I don't want to offend him by changing the routine, I just want expert advice in between lessons to improve my form. Again, I probably only retain about 10% of what he teaches me: I scribble some brief notes to get the (very) basic idea of each exersize, and the rest gets stored in my simple little brain that forgets most of what my Guru who is a Hindu priest, Sanskrit scholar and Yoga master teaches me.

I learn by applying myself about 10 times harder than an average person. In school(35 yrs ago) I got high grades, but would study day and night, even on weekends. Now I wish to apply myself to Yoga with complete dedication. Once I get to know my Guru better I will probably feel comfortable going to see him in between my lessons or maybe getting him to explain his lessons again over the phone in between meetings. But for now, if I can find a few compitent Yoga experts here who want to help me, that would be awesome


Edited by - Herb on Jan 29 2017 6:31:12 PM


479 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  03:49:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb, your desire/need/craving for spirituality is huge, which is a good thing. But I hope you don't mind if I tell you that, from my POV, you are overdoing/overthinking, which generates pressure/stress. I would suggest to inquire if your level of engagement in different spiritual practices (if I remember well, you just opened threads about meditation, diet, fasting, prayer, asana) is serving you well, and if this level is sustainable.

Again, don't want to hurt you at all, please feel free to completely disagree.

Now, concerning your question about surya namaskat, it's a difficult issue: there are many approaches under the same name "surya namaskar", so it' virtually impossible to give you an advice that is both valid AND in line with the way your teacher is teaching surya namaskar.

For example, I learnrd surya namaskar from a Iyengar guy, and "his" version has little in common with the one you are practicing in terms of breath. And probably even the single poses composing tge surya namaskar sequence are different. And, most relevant, even the goal/effect may be very different.

So my advice would be to go to your teacher and ask for clarification WITHIN his system/approach.

Edited by - Ecdyonurus on Jan 30 2017 04:26:18 AM
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  08:13:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Ecdy I appreciate your concern for my well being. I do have a great desire for God's presence but nothing that I feel might do me anything but good. I believe that it is the Spirit's work in me. Also if you have read many of my posts you know that I am learning a lot of new information right now so that in itself explains why all the new threads. I don't know about you, but when I am learning new things it stimulates my mind and creats it's own sort of creative energy. Much of my creative writing has been done during periods of learning in my life; writing songs, poetry and Christian articles for instance.

It has been my personal experience and also, judging by the testimony of one of the senior members here as well as many spiritual giants I have read about like Mother Theresa, that it was shortly after a period of great striving that a spiritual breakthrough happened. I don't know if I can find it quickly, but I recently read a post here by a senior member explaining how she attained Moksha after an intense period of much fasting and doing asanas and other Yoga disciplines for many hours every day. Again, personal striving alone, I believe, is not the key but rather I think in times of spiritual breakthrough, it is more like being obedient to the spiritual stiving or, as you put it, pressure, within you.

It's amazing that you suggested I talk to my Guru anout my questions. After I started this thread, I got the nerve to call him. After explaining that I was having problems, he recommended that I come see him weekly instead of once every three weeks. I had no idea that there is so much varience among different teachers about the Surya Namaskar. When I googled it the charts and videos all looked very similar to me. But I am new to asanas.

I sure hope that others don't find my posts irritating. I could stop posting if that is the case I read something interesting yesterday: "After the vision of Brahman a man becomes silent. He reasons about It as long as he has not realized It." I think that once I have attained Moksha, if Brahman wills it, my search, my striving, will be over, and you will see the posting die off naturally. Please be patient with me

Edited by - Herb on Jan 30 2017 08:18:37 AM
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1460 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  09:53:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb,

Agree with Ecdy that there are different ways (small difference) in the way Surya Namaskar is practiced. I start with few spinal twists, followed by cat and cow pose and build up heat with the Ujjayi breath. Then I'm ready to move. Listen to your body and you should be breathing through the process(make sure you are not holding your breath). Asanas is moving meditation so it should be effortless. A little effort is required in the beginning. With time it's just going to be breath and movement with the mind completely still. Good to know you have already worked out a plan with your Guru.

Your Bhakti

I'm assuming you have already read the lesson on Self pacing. I would encourage you to keep doing what you've been doing. I've gone through a phase where I've wanted nothing but God and gone through catharsis wanting it. I know what it is to crave God/Truth. And God gave me what I wanted. But that didn't take away my Love for God. Infact it has made it worse but with a relaxation.

I'll share a story illustrating my love for God.I was in one of those divine ecstatic states, when a friend of mine was sharing with me her excitement of buying a new piece of jewelry. My response was " I'm in love with God." Don't worry we are still friends. We've been friends since college days so the bond is strong and deep.

There is nothing but Joy in this journey. As Ramakrishna said "If you must be mad, be it not for the things of the world. Be mad with the love of God"

And please continue to post as I really enjoy them.

Much Love,
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479 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  09:53:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb, thank you for your kind answer.

Your posts are very interesting, so please keep on writing! I don't think that anybody can find them irritating.

As I wrote above, feel completely free to disagree with my point of view.

Glad to read that your teacher is supporting you that way.

And, yes, as a beginner it is hard to believe that there can variations of the same yoga pose. Each variation is valid when used in the right framework, which implies that the very same variation can be useless or even harmfull in a different framework.

Another very important aspect is that a teacher must be aware of the body fitness and conditions of his/her students. The same asana can be very healthy for you but very dangerous for the neck of another student.

For example, the asana routine recommended in AYP is a nice thing but I can't do that exactly the way it is instructed because some poses can be harmful for some longtime skeletal conditions I have. So I had to redesign some of the poses with the help of my asana teacher.

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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  1:40:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sunyata: you are a very loving person and I thank you for all your comments, not only to my posts, but to the others as well. This is a very warm and encouraging site thanks to people like you I'm not sure if I've read the lesson on self pacing as I'm only on lesson 30. But I need to find it and spend some time reading it and thinking about that. I am a naturally intense, highly driven person. My Dad is exactly the same way. He's 92 and just started slowing down last fall. Last year at this time he was in the middle of a global tour with his 94 year old girlfriend

Ecdy: I thank you as well for your comments

You both mentioned self pacing so I should try to overcome my prideful ego and realize the truth in that. It seems I may be overdoing it a bit. I send all members of this site and, especially, Yogani, all my love. This is deffinitely the best Yoga site on the internet!


Edited by - Herb on Jan 30 2017 6:04:16 PM
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1460 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  5:05:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by Herb
My Dad is exactly the same way. He's 92 and just started slowing down last fall. Last year at this time he was in the middle of a global tour with his 94 year old girlfriend

This is so adorable, Herb! If this is not Enlightened living then I don't know what is.

Here are some lessons on Self pacing.

Lesson 38 - What is Your Time Line?

Lesson 252 - Self-Pacing, Surrender and Enlightenment

Lesson 107 - Self-Pacing in Postures and Practices

Lesson 217 - Responsibility

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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  6:10:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sunyata you are awesome! Ya, my brothers and I just moved him out of his house into a seniors lodge where he is known as "there's that 92 year old guy who does Yoga(they have a Seniors Yoga class)every morning then hits the exercise room and works out for another hour." He's totally adorable

I will go over all those lessons before I start another thread

Edited by - Herb on Jan 30 2017 6:14:09 PM
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