In modern culture, choosing a style of yoga is akin to strolling through the ice cream section at the local co-op natural foods grocer. The choices are many and everything looks good. But why are there so many styles of asana these days? And does it truly matter which one you do? Read More »»
Posts Tagged ‘Ashtanga’
It’s 5:30 in the evening and you’re leaving a crazy day at work to try and make a 6 o’clock yoga class. Or maybe it’s 6:30 in the morning and you’re heading to Mysore before work—just barely awake. Regardless, you want to practice but you feel like going to sleep. What do you do? Throw some cold water on your face and pray that by the second downdog your blood will start moving? Or grab a double soy mocha and pound it before taking your position on the mat? Read More »»
It’s often said that the best time for practice is just before dawn. This is because the mind and the body are fresh, and because the planet (and the home) is still calm and quiet. Some believe that the electromagnetic waves of the sun create obstacles to practice by raising the energetic currents in the environment, and that this is also a good reason to practice before the sun comes up. One of my teachers, Jamie Lindsay, used to say that practicing yoga in the morning is more like preventative medicine, whereas practicing in the evening is more curative. (I loved that way of thinking.) The Kundalini, Ashtanga, and Shadow Yoga communities all deem early morning asana as an important element of a complete practice.
But getting up before dawn can be hard to do. The large majority of yoga practitioners that I know do not practice early in the morning on a regular basis either because their schedules or lack of discipline get in the way. Not everyone has a lifestyle in which they can get to bed early enough to rise with the sun. And even if you do, it can be easy to hit the snooze button in your sleepy haze and convince your still-dreamy brain that another half hour of sleep will be much better for you than getting up to practice yoga.
But is early morning practice really better for everyone? I do enjoy it, but also find that I am a lot more open (and even more clear-minded) in the evenings. Others I know have said they prefer evening practice because they are stiff or tired in the morning, or worried about the things they need to do that day. Of course, it’s also been said that sunset is a beneficial time to practice, but because our work schedules don’t change (for most of us) with the seasons, practicing consistently at sunset is tricky for most people. And evening practice takes a different kind of discipline: You might be tired from a full day’s work or simply tempted to socialize with friends.
Do you have a favorite time to practice? Do you practice the same time every day? What feels different to you about morning, afternoon, and evening practice? Write in and tell us what you think!
A couple of weeks ago, there was an article in The New York Times about a new campaign called Take Back Yoga introduced by the Hindu American Foundation. You can read the article yourself, but the gist is that this group is trying to get Americans to acknowledge that yoga was initially a Hindu practice. Dr. Aseem Shukla, the foundation’s co-founder, is quoted in the article as saying: “In a way, our issue is that yoga has thrived, but Hinduism has lost control of the brand.”
The brand? Is yoga a brand? I don’t know. Read More »»
Edward Clark is the creator of Tripsichore Yoga Theatre, a London based company that travels internationally to perform its own unique brand of yoga-influenced theater and to teach the fundamentals of the group’s techniques. The yoga that Tripsichore is based on is vinyasa yoga, which the company defines as the evenly metered flow of movement, breath and thought. Clark talked to The Sacred Cow about vinyasa’s connection to theater, its role as a meditative practice, and its position in the yoga world today. Read More »»
If you aren’t already familiar with Pranamaya, it’s an innovative San Francisco-based company that creates one-of-a-kind media—mostly DVDs—with modern yoga masters like Sri Dharma Mittra, Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers, and Gary Kraftsow. The company was founded in 2002 by longtime friends Ian Albert and Mark Holmes to capture the teachings of these great thinkers and practitioners, and offer those teachings to the world. Read More »»