Ashtanga Yoga Chikitsa, or also known as Yoga Therapy is the primary series that most Ashtanga beginners start with. A set of yoga sequences which I never knew much about before until we had to practice it during one of the training sessions. In all honesty, I was pretty daunted by it when the instructors took us through the whole series for the first time. How does one self-practice this daily without giving up halfway 😮
BUT, it was only after they explained the benefits behind the poses and why it was sequenced as such, that I was able to accept it with ease. In fact, it was only after doing the self-practice that I was able to appreciate it more. The self-practice gave me the opportunity to be more in-tuned and focused with my Ujjayi one-breath-one-movement flow and enabled me to get deeper into the practice beyond it being just a physical workout. I’ve to admit though that there are some poses in the primary series that I’m (still) struggling with, due to my tight hamstrings and hips. It was quite frustrating at first, not being able to seal some of the poses, but the self-practice allowed me to be more aware of my body and just being in that present moment to understand my body and its limitations at that point of time. I believe that our body connects strongly with the mind and a lot of people (including myself) tend to underestimate that. The tightness in some of our body parts could possibly link well to how our minds have been “moulded” to some of the limited mindsets we have, or possibly the habits or emotions stored within ourselves. With constant practice (which I would want to continue after this YTT), I’m hoping it could slowly help break the vicious cycle of bad habits/patterns.
I’ve also learnt that the primary series can help to unlock the bottom few chakras which store some of our negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and anger to name some. For some reason, after experiencing the full primary series for the first time that day, I was able to get over the fear of lifting myself off to pincha mayurasana, the inversion I’ve been struggling with since the start of YTT. I was told by Rhyanna that it was fear that was stopping me from lifting my leg up to the wall. I was truly humbled by this.
“Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success” ~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika ~
The instructors also stressed that to be a good teacher, you need to do regular self-practice and the primary series sequence is a good enough flow for us to follow. While we were taught the teaching techniques and guides, none of these would make sense if we don’t practice or apply it. Teaching was not as easy as I thought it would be. It’s not only about giving out clear instructions, or lesson planning but for me the more challenging part is having to engage the students who would be coming from various levels, different moods/energies, etc. as well as striking a balance between being professional and casual enough for you to be approachable too. But I guess this comes with practice and definitely experience. It’s something I hope I’d be able to gather in due time.
Can’t believe we’ve only one week left. I think I’m gonna have withdrawal symptoms when this YTT ends… 🙁
~ Farah Lyna H.