Asana Practice - Yoga Sadhana

Asana Practice : Static Versus Dynamic

I woke up this morning finding an interesting short write-up by my Guruji Parveen Nair on facebook, so I thought I would take this into a discussion on asana practice –static Versus dynamic, a way to improve the functionality of our body.

“I read this morning a post on how we might lack in movements and that may cause poor posture. I would like to share my view that poor posture may be the issue in lack of functional movements, but if your choice to rehabilitate poor posture with poses like below (Image is me in 2012 shoving my face with my leg for a Teachers Training certification) 

This May be a questionable poor choice of rehabilitation. The Mind is medicine if you know to make the right choices. So much of yoga today in my opinion is non-functional to the bodies’ well-being. If your choice is to restore the health and well-being of the body mind you do not require this kind of pose or approach to health. Think wisely”  – quoted from Parveen Nair’s Facebook.

You may find that certain positions especially those static ones tend to increase pressure, strain and tension and thus increase your pain. Similarly, certain positions such as the dynamic ones or known as movements may “unload” the tension in the painful area, resulting in relief and comfort. Hence it is important that we develop the understanding and awareness of which positions and movements aggravate your pain symptoms and which ones release.

14 years ago I started and took up my yoga teachers training certification, I often wonder why we need to “stand still like a building”, my heart was pounding hard and I wondered, aren’t we human beings designed to move? Why standing still ?  So I questioned my teacher…

After these many years of practising and re-educating, I begin to realise one of my goals with my teaching is to get answers about how the human body truly functioned, rather than finding which is right or wrong. As my teacher always says, “there’s no right or wrong but there are only consequences of what and how you do!”  My realization came rather quickly when my teacher left me with no choice but to study and dwell deep into the subjects of functional anatomy and embodied movements in yoga practices. I began to understand that, instead of being all-knowing, which I had hoped for when starting to teach with my teachers hands in hands, I knew nothing. It is time for me to re-learn!

After years of trying to teach asana statically and now changing the way I am teaching,  my teacher has made me realise that there is no single, unifying and absolute way to answer the questions of how we function. One part of this journey is to explore movement.

“As my teacher always reminds me “movement was the first step we all took when we started our exploration into this world, and haven’t stopped since then. we are exploring movements everyday”

When I first changed the style of my teaching, I experienced confusions and being questioned from my students who have been with me for decades. It is simple, when we are doing asana practice, we are creating a relationship between our body and gravity, when we move, we are all-engaging, holistic movements that move a person flow and float through gravity with ease and grace, so why force your body into something static? In my opinion, movement is supposed to be energy-efficient, graceful and an engaging experience without much effort just like how you walk and move around. The reason behind this is very simple, the complexity and the principles behind all human movements have always been there and will always be there, whether or not we chose to explore!  

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