Are we Losing the Magic, the Myths, the Fun out of Yoga Asana?

Are we Losing the Magic, the Myths, the Fun out of Yoga Asana?

My yoga class teachings right from the start involved mystical, magical stories from the Sages and Rishis many thousands of years ago! These were the super powered half humans half Godly beings who made yoga ‘supernatural’. A dream and a far fetched possibility to humans like me and you. Either way, it gives us a sense of  child like fairy telling whilst doing the yoga on the mat, allowing us to move away from the mundane exercises to something much more profound and animal warrior like sensations. When we explore the philosophy of yoga and why the asanas got their names in the first place, personally, it takes me to that form during the practice. In my classes, I ask my students to become and embody the lizard (Utthan Pristhasana), or slither like a cobra (Bhujangasana), or roar like a lion (Simhasana) during pranayama, or make your tiger tail long and sexy during Vyagrasana…the list goes on and on and on.! It’s so fun! Yoga to me is meant to be fun yet at the same time serious. Think Sthira Sukha (Steadiness and Grace)? An adult life has enough burdens already with the mortgage to pay, children to feed and provide, work duties etc etc why then must our yoga be so damn serious all the time? Ever watch a kids yoga class? Wow..they embody the animals and the sages so realistically! The kids take their form in completeness! They shape shift effortlessly and laugh so cutely about it too. This is what I inspire in my classes. Us to do the shape shifting poses and really, really imagine that we are the warriors back in the Shiva era! Or you are the gorgeous beauty blinding Lakshmi sitting on the Lotus flower just chilling whilst Vishnu floats nearby. Or we can eradicate the ego by acting out as Kali Ma. All of this is felt subtlety and outwardly if you take the mind fully to the impressions of the asanas. Sage Vasistha was a tremendous yogi full of valour and strength. Yogi master Visvamitra renounced his kingdom and went into penance and also became a supersonic yogi after observing Vasistha’s lifestyle. Let us think of him when doing the side planks. Feel his strength in this pose along with the flexibility that he portrayed towards the kings court. It brings the MAGIC back into the Yoga room. Otherwise we might as well just stick to the gym yoga. When you bring the stories in from the scriptures the experience of the practice evolves. Though every yoga teachers task is to make sure we have done our homework and can tell the stories correctly. Nothing worse than guessing how it went and totally messing it all up!  Only then can the magical aura during the yoga class unfold, taking the psyche towards a whole new realm and vibration.

Asana of the week: Visvamitrasana and Vasisthasana

Pose of Visvamitra as illustrated by Dharma Mittra and Side Planks

Core stability, revolving, twisting, shoulder opening, hip opening and strong standing leg is all needed for Visvamitrasana. Vasisthasana is a good starting point so a couple of these in the sequence along with side body stretching will bring us to this challenge asana. Modifications will be offered for this is definitely a very strong pose indeed hence why it is in the 3rd series of Ashtanga Yoga. Remain playful whilst practicing this one and taking it limb my limb until ready to take flight is a note worth observing.

Mantra of the week: Om Namah Shivaya

I bow to the Super Consciousness within me. My soul, my divine light, my fullness.

Rashila Amin

My focuses are my own. They are written with my understanding and perceptions of the world, the situation and/or my truth on the subjects. What is my Satya may not be yours. You have to find your own Truth, your own Satya. Travel the world as much as you can, go and visit places of beauty and sacredness. Get involved with your community and help where you can. Only then you too will find experiences and life lessons. If you do nothing… then nothing does you!