Asanas and niyamas

It’s been an interesting few days of practice at home. One day of practice with a DVD by Geetaji, another day of supta padangushtasana and variations and a split practice between morning and evening.

Lately, I’ve just been focusing on the standing asanas since I am learning but perhaps I also need to add what my body needs. Supta padangushtasana was one of the first asanas that I learnt when I started and it helped when my running load had increased. Surya namaskars and backbends gave me strength and I have slowly introduced them in my regular practice albeit intermittently. These days they feel like effort, it seems like I could do more, especially in Supta padangushtasana which feels very gross despite using the belt. It is only after a few repetitions that my legs calm a bit to be able to get the actions required.

I’ve taken on a project to become a faster runner and that brings all my structural imbalances to the surface. Shin splints, sore knees and lower back have made a comeback. I’m tempted to give up on this endeavour since it is just a personal quest to see how far I can go. From a sane perspective, it seems foolish to push the body but I feel that learning through my experiences, injuries and remedies will help me understand how yoga can enhance running. Although, if it comes to a choice between the two, there is really no question. Then why do I still run?

Running taught me the niyamas although I saw it as such much later.

sauca– through sweat
santosha– through the calm after a run
tapah– through showing up on the road
swadhyaya– through journalling my experience
ishvara pranidana– through trusting the process
It seems very simplistic to put it all in the context of running but that was my start. Today, the niyamas are a little differently understood but that base of building a habit translated into a state of receptiveness to a new way of living.

For instance, Sauca has translated into something that includes some of the traditional practices of Ayurveda regarding food and lifestyle, having a regular practice, getting rid of clutter, reading that which enriches and chanting the sutras/shlokas. Some days I cannot do everything, family and work require me to be part of social activities and I go along. At times, these days slide into a week or more and then the call from inside becomes a loud cry. So, I come back and get back one step at a time.
Overall though, it has been a shift in the way I live my life and maybe some of it has rubbed off on my family too.

In gratitude for the blessings of yoga.

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