How to Build An Ashtanga Practice
Session 8 - Sun A - Equanimity
Once you have the gist of the flow of body and breath, the next step is to seek balance in the body. Just like learning anything else, things can be clunky at first. Once we bring attention back to being grounded, staying aligned and breathing in the process of Arising, Abiding and Dissolving, we start to feel more balanced in the transitions.
Once you feel more adept in the transitions of moving up, down, forward and back, you become familiar with your body in the space of the practice. When you feel comfortable with the movements, the breath will be there with you.
As you practice this week, I encourage you to look for the places that feel clunky or out of balance. As you become aware of those parts, take a few moments to practice those specific parts. When I was first practicing ashtanga, I needed a little more time in the process of moving from Ardha Uttanasana to Plank/Chaturanga. Instead of exhausting myself doing full sun salutations, I instead polished up that specific transition by doing it by itself over and over again. The repetition is magic. I became used to the movement and slowly added on poses on either end of that transition.
So find your balance by recognizing where you are out of balance. There is no shame in this. We need to find equanimity all the time. Our environment, the weather, our bodies, our moods are changing all the time and we have to balance in those conditions. Recognize when a pose feels off and practice it as a free standing pose, then return to the flow sequence with a fresh understanding of where your body is in that pose or transition today.
In meditation, when we bring the range of our awareness in, we call it Close Attention. Bring Close Attention to what needs your attention and then broaden it.
I think it’s a good idea to keep a journal page this week on your quest to find balance. Be a detective and see what needs a bit more attention: Body, Energy, Mood, Poses, Transitions!
What if everything feels great?
If everything feels pretty great, dive deeper into the equanimity of your connection to the ground.
Are you evenly distributing weight in all the corners of your feet and/or hands?
Are you reaching equally with both arms?
Is your ‘down’ equal to your ‘up’?
Can you step back to Plank/Chaturanga not always leading with the same foot?
Can you step forward to the top of the mat from Down Dog not always leading with the same foot?
Do your feet step up evenly?
Can you bring balance to the inhales and exhales?
Can you find the balance between too much and too little?
Be curious! And seek balance!
If you have questions in the process of finding balance, please don’t hesitate to email me at MBFYoga108@gmail.com
Here is a pdf of Sun A. Print it out and put it at the top of your mat as you begin to memorize the sequence.