sábado, 29 de dezembro de 2012

GIVE A NEW STEP*

O final de mais um ano é sempre um tempo de reflexão. Viajamos para trás e relembramos momentos vividos, episódios importantes de todo um ano que passou. Lembramos dos dias de sorrisos e dos dias de lágrimas. Pensamos no que ainda pretendemos cumprir e naquilo que desistimos de ambicionar. Recordamos resoluções, planos, estratégias, caminhos que seguimos e as metas que conseguimos alcançar, mas também visualizamos o que não correu bem, os problemas que enfrentámos, os obstáculos que surgiram sem aviso prévio, as dificuldades e as tristezas.

Um ano inteiro de momentos sólidos e leves que construíram aquilo que hoje desejamos. Aquilo que queremos manter, o que tentamos largar, o que continuamos a lutar para alcançar. Ajudando a esboçar ideias para o novo ano que está a chegar.

Sem ficar com um pé demasiado enterrado no passado, sem jogar o outro demasiado para o futuro, há que fazer contas à vida, ser realista, mas manter a ambição e a esperança e decidir dar um novo passo. Não é fácil. E há muitos riscos. Mas porque não?

Vejo a ponte,
posso cair...
mas e porque não?
Tenho o meu tapete às costas,
darei um novo passo...
Feliz 2013.


*imagem retirada de pesquisa online.

***********

It is another New Year and it is always a time of reflection.  We go back and remember fun moments and important episodes of the past year.  We remember the days full of smiles and those of tears.  We think of all that we still want to accomplish, our ambitions and what we are destined to do. We remember the resolutions, plans, strategies, paths that we follow and the goals we have achieved, but we also visualise what did not go quite as well, the problems in front of us, the obstacles that come up without warning, the sadness and difficulties.

A whole year of solid and lighter moments, which build what we want today, those that we want to keep, those that we try to forget, or those that we continue to fight to achieve, all help sketch ideas for the new year that is coming.

Without getting ones foot buried in the past, or without playing too far ahead, we have to weigh up life, be realistic, but keep our ambition and hope, and decide to take a new step.  It’s not easy, there are many risks, by why not?

I see the bridge, I could fall… but why not? I carry my mat on my back; I will take a new step.

Happy 2013

*Image taken from an online search.
 


quinta-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2012

Our 2012 gift

Conforme combinámos... aqui estão eles...os postais- presente para os praticantes mais assíduos. A lista tem vindo a crescer, sejam como os vossos colegas de prática, venham estender os vossos tapetes e esticar os vossos corpos até dia 31 de Dezembro.

Boa entrada em 2013.
Boas práticas!

**********
As we arranged... here they are... the postcards, a present for the most dedicated practitioners.  The list is growing, be like your fellow practitioners, come and roll out your mats and stretch your bodies until 31st December. 
Happy 2013.
Happy Practicing!

terça-feira, 25 de dezembro de 2012

Another example and inspiration from Santa...

Faça como o Senhor da Barbas, perca a barriguinha extra e encontre no seu corpo e mente, saúde para viver muitos mais anos. Bom Natal e Boas práticas!


*ilustração de Boonchu Tanti.

**********
Be like the Bearded man, loose the little extra belly and find your healthy body and mind, to live a longer life. Happy Christmas and Happy Practicing.

*illustration by Boonchu Tanti

quarta-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS...WITH YOUR ASHTANGA YOGA


Este ano o Pai Natal decidiu dedicar mais tempo à sua saúde, virou praticante de Ashtanga e perdeu a sua famosa barriguinha, ganhou um "six-pack" e muitos mais anos de vida. Faça como o mais reconhecido Senhor das Barbas e entre no espírito de Natal com a sua prática de Ashtanga Yoga. Bom Natal! Boas práticas!



*ilustração de Boonchu Tanti.

**********

This year Father Christmas decided to dedicate more time to his health, he started practicing Ashtanga and lost his famous belly, he got a "six pack" and many more years of life.  
Do as the the most well known Bearded man did, and enter the spirit of Christmas with your Ashtanga Yoga practice.  
Happy Christmas! Happy Practicing!

*Illustration by Boonchu Tanti.

terça-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2012

ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME - ARMINDA MARRERO


NAME: Arminda Marrero
AGE: 31 years
PLACE OF BIRTH: Canary Island, Spain
PROFESSION: Finance worker
YEARS OF PRACTICE: 3 years

HOW YOU FOUND ASHTANGA YOGA?
A good friend who had been in India many times, always on a quest to deepen his meditation practice, had started going to the center of Ananda Zorzo in Las Palmas, and told me about the classes: "Arminda you have to go, you´ll love it!". I remember that his explanation didn´t sound clear to me, that the combination between breath and poses would produce heat in the body, i really couldn´t imagine it. But it made me curious. I had done Yoga a long time ago, based on breathing techniques and meditation, i had never heard of the asanas, so i went and ... voilá! 
I remember that in the first class, i was exhausted! And that i keep asking to myself, "what is this?". Kind of awake up something inside me, that i can´t explain, i felt a great connection, it was like i found the practice, and the practice found me. 

WHEN YOU UNDERSTOOD THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THIS PRACTICE IN YOUR DAILY LIFE? 
Almost from the beggining, i just wanted to go deeper into the practice, feel it. Quickly, it became a daily morning practice for me. This wasn´t difficult, i have never been late nights, i dived for years, i have climbed some years too, already had the routine of going to bed early and get up at dawn. I´ve always liked the feeling of being connected with biorhythms, with nature, get up with the sun. So the idea of taking the practice to the first thing you do upon walking, i found it cute. It was my meditation!
Many people say:"in the evening your body will be more flexible!", and is true, but that never made me  deciding to not practice in the morning. Often heard people also saying:" i prefer to practice after work, to download all the tensions and problems of the day.", and this idea seemed totally opposite from feelings with the practice, i always felt i wanted to practice early. Also because i started working at 8a.m., so i got up at five, and quarter to six i was in the mat. It helped a lot because my good friend Manu, that is a great inspiration to me, also practice early so we joined and we practice together. 
Practice in the morning is not a sacrifice, well, sometimes can be...(ehehe).

IS THERE ANY SPECIAL MOMENT(S) OR STORY THAT YOU LIVED, WHICH REPRESENT FOR YOU, WHAT ASHTANGA YOGA IS? 
I think the moment and story i just answered to you in the previous question, Ashtanga Yoga is discovery, search, discipline, humility and... sacrifice!

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE, WHAT IS THE FIRST WORD THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND?
 Freedom! That is the first word that comes to my head. That and "samvega", which is the term to
designate the determination from the heart to pratice.

ASHTANGA YOGA HAVE...?
Purity... and a bit of Durkha (suffering)!(eeheh). 

ASHTANGA YOGA DOESN´T HAVE?
Cheat. When you practice Ashtanga Yoga, is like you are naked, you can see everything, your anxities, 
fears, insecurities, desires... there is no space for lies. 

YOU WORK FOR A BIG FIRM. HOW YOU FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN YOUR DEMANDING WORK AND YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?
I´m still looking for! My personal life has been changing in this last year, i´m living in another country, and now is a little more difficult. A good friend told me, after i shared with him my worries and that now is more difficult to get up early and practice, because my place of work is one hour and half from our house, etc, And he said:"Armi, the best practice is whenever you can. Just practice! There will be days you do it with more intensity and day you do it with less... you just find your time and practice!"
And i´m finding it...

IN A WORLD THAT LIVES FOR THE OUTSIDE, ASHTANGA YOGA BRINGS US BACK TO OUR INSIDE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE IN A SMALL SENTENCE, WHAT YOU FEEL 
AND EXPERIENCE EACH TIME YOU PRACTICE?
The practice is like a way to find the ability to stop, a way to learn to stop. 

sexta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2012

THANK YOU ASHTANGIS...

Obrigada a todos os que estiveram na nossa casa de prática durante a minha ausência. Obrigada a todos que fazem parte desta casa;).

Segunda lá estarei a receber-vos.
Até já.

* foto retirada de pesquisa online.

***********



Thank you to all those who have been in our house of practice during my absence. 
Thank you to all those who make up our house :)
I will be there to welcome you on Monday.
See you then!

terça-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2012

OUR 2012 SHOULDER BAGS


Disponíveis em verde, roxo e preto...
Prontos para levarmos as nossas roupas de prática, toalha e afins...
Boas práticas!

**********

Available in green, purple and black. 
Ready to carry our practice clothes, towel and other bits...
Happy Practicing








segunda-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2012

PRACTICING

Qualquer lugar serve para praticarmos Ashtanga Yoga. 
Ter um espaço-escola, um professor e colegas ao nosso redor é muito precioso, mas em viagem, de férias ou em trabalho, recebemos a oportunidade perfeita para compreendermos que o Ashtanga é de facto uma prática de flexibilidade mental. 

Para quê avançarmos pela primeira, segunda, terceira séries do Ashtanga Yoga, se vivemos limitados por regras, hábitos ou padrões? Nada como testarmos os nossos limites, sacudirmos e expandirmos as nossas zonas de conforto. Abrir portas para novas experiências e vivermos novas histórias onde sentimos mudanças e uma capacidade obrigatória de adaptação a novas situações, a novos ambientes... e mesmo que pareça mais difícil, ou mais fácil de movermos o corpo em sintonia com a respiração, percebemos que qualquer lugar serve para praticarmos
Ashtanga Yoga. 



Seja dentro do quarto, naquele pequeno espaço entre a cama e a janela, seja lá fora, de frente para o mar, onde não temos paredes ou tecto, seja em cima do nosso querido "mat" ou simplesmente sobre uma toalha. Seja a dividirmos o drishti, entre o Nasagri e as formigas gigantes que picam e que tendem a subir para cima do nosso "cotton"...
qualquer lugar serve para praticarmos Ashtanga Yoga.


*foto retirada de pesquisa online.

**********

You can practice Ashtanga Yoga in any location.
To have a school, a teacher, colleagues near to us is great, but during our travels whether work or holidays, we have the perfect opportunity to see that Ashtanga is in fact a practice of mental flexibility.

Why advance from first, second to the third Ashtanga Yoga series, if we live limited by rules, habits or standards? Without testing our limits, shake and expand ourselves from our comfort zones.  To open the doors to new experiences and new stories where we feel changes and an obligatory capacity to adapt to new situations and new environments… and even if it seems the most difficult, or most easy to move our bodies in synchronisation with breathing, thus we understand that any space can serve to practice our Ashtanga Yoga.

Whether is be inside a room, that small space between the bed and the window, outside, in front of or next to the sea, where we don’t have walls or a roof, whether it be on top of our beloved mat or simply on a towel. Whether we divide the dristhi between Nasagari and the giant biting ants that crawl on our “cotton”… any place can serve to practice our Ashtanga Yoga.

domingo, 25 de novembro de 2012

ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME - PABLO PIRILLO


NAME: Pablo Pirillo
AGE: 37 years
PLACE OF BIRTH: Buenos Aires, Argentina
PROFESSION: Ashtanga Yoga Teacher
YEARS OF PRACTICE: 15 years

WHEN AND WITH WHO YOU STARTED PRACTICE ASHTANGA YOGA?
In a trip to Peru, a Shaman recommended me to look for some type of spiritual practice. When i returned to Argentina i tried a class of Ashtanga Yoga in a school of Indra Devi (the first student woman of Shri T. Krishnamacharya). 

WHICH WERE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE THAT YOU HAD TO OVERPASS IN YOUR ASHTANGA PRACTICE? 
When i started to practice probably the biggest obstacle was to find the opportune moment for the practice, since i worked long hours in film production. Once on the mat i had to learn to develop the honesty to practice, as if i was being watched by a teacher. 

YOU HAVE BEEN PRACTICING FOR A LONG TIME, WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION TO KEEP PRACTICING ASHTANGA YOGA?
The transformations that i gradually felt at all levels. 

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US ANY SECRET FOR KEEPING A LONG TIME PRACTICE? 
Not to expect anything concretly from the practice, and enjoy the benefits that it grants you in the moment and over time.  

ASHTANGA YOGA IS FOR YOU? 
My path. 

BEING AN ASHTANGA YOGA TEACHER IN BUENOS AIRES, WITH A SOLID GROUP OF STUDENTS, WHAT YOU REGULARLY REMIND THEM ABOUT THIS PRACTICE?
Trust in what is hapenning to them with the practice, have faith in the method, it really works. 

WHEN YOU CAME TO INDIA TO STUDY WITH YOUR TEACHER, SHARATH JOIS, YOU DIDN´T SPEAK A LOT OF ENGLISH, BUT STILL SHARATH COMMUNICATED WITH YOU,  AND TAUGHT YOU EVEN WITH A LANGUAGE BARRIER, IS POSSIBLE TO TEACH AND LEARN ASHTANGA YOGA. CAN YOU TELL US,  HOW THIS WAS FOR YOU?
It was actually harder go on with the day and relate with other students. I did not have problem with my teachers, the relationship with them goes beyond words. 

IN A WORLD THAT LIVES FOR THE OUTSIDE, ASHTANGA YOGA BRINGS US BACK TO OUR INSIDE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE IN A SMALL SENTENCE WHAT YOU FEEL AND EXPERIENCE EACH TIME YOU PRACTICE?
I´m awake now, i can start the day. 

THANK YOU!

sexta-feira, 23 de novembro de 2012

segunda-feira, 19 de novembro de 2012

ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME - GREG NARDI


NAME: Greg Nardi
AGE: 38 years
PLACE OF BIRTH: Pt. Pleasant. N.J., U.S.A
PROFESSION: Yoga Teacher
YEARS OF PRACTICE: 15 years

WHEN AND HOW YOU STARTED PRACTICING ASHTANGA YOGA?
I was invited by a friend to take a class at a local yoga studio. In 1996, Yoga wasn´t as popular, so i didn´t know any different styles and there were few celebrity teachers. I just thought  all Yoga was the same. From the first class, i loved it and took every class on the studio schedule for the next several months. I also started to go to NYC which was about 40 min by bus from my house, to take as many classes as possible. One day i was asking strangers on the street if they knew of a good Yoga studio. Someone direct me to Jivamukti on the 9th St. and 2nd Ave. Sharon Gannon happened to be teaching that day. It was the first time i ever experienced the vinyasa style, and the first time i ever got a full on body adjustment. It was amazing! I walked out of the studio feeling like i was walking on air. When i learned their Guru was Pattabhi Jois, i tried to find an Ashtanga teacher. In 1998, i found a teacher named Raji Thron who had been a student of Richard Freeman. He was very encouraging to me and supported my practice a lot. He was the person who first suggested that i go to India to meet Pattabhi Jois. 

HOW LONG IT TOOK FOR YOU TO COME FOR THE FIRST TIME TO MYSORE, INDIA? CAN YOU SHARE WITH US, THAT FIRST EXPERIENCE, OF BEING IN MYSORE AND LEARNING WITH GURUJI?
I came to India in 1999. I had a plane ticket and a piece of paper with Guruji´s address on it that Raji had given me before i left. I showed it to a rickshaw driver and he dropped me off in Lakshmipuram, though he didn´t know which house was the right one. I just started knocking on doors and asking people where the Yoga teacher was. People were kind and kept pointing me in the right direction. Eventually, i walked up to Guruji´s door. It was a little bit before the daily conference that he used to have back then, so he was sitting in his chair waiting for me. I was pretty naive, and i thought that meeting your guru would be some grand and formal experience, but Guruji just invited me in a very casually as if he had been expecting me. I had so much excitement and nervousnes, but he just had this very grounded energy. He was always able to do that for me. If i ever felt overwhelmed, he could get me grounded in a second with a word, a touch, or a gaze. I stayed about 3 months on the first trip. I quickly learned that Mysore is someplace that you come back over and over, that it takes a long time to learn the series and how to teach it properly. There was a sense of gravity and a recalibrating of my standards for practice after coming on that first trip. 

AFTER YOUR FIRST TRIP YOU CONTINUE TO COME TO MYSORE, DEEPENING YOUR EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE IN THIS YOGA SYSTEM. WE ARE NOW IN 2012, AND YOU ARE STILL STUDENT OF KPJAYI. WHAT GURUJI AND SHARATH JOIS HAVE THAT IS DIFFICULT TO FIND IN OTHER TEACHERS?
It is very clear that Guruji and Sharath both have had a deep and profound experience through their own practice of Yoga. When they teach it is with the weight of experience and it is passed to us with unwavering commitment and faith that this method is for our benefit and the benefit of the world. Each time they have taught me, this faith transfers to me in some way that quickens my own experience of Yoga. 
Our community has become global as Ashtanga Yoga has become a worldwide phenomenon. Mysore has become the organizational center that maintains the standard of the tradition. It seems implausible that it would maintain its current level of continuity and cohesion without the dedication and commitment of Guruji and Sharath. I for one, have seen minor changes to the system as years have gone by, but i and many others, rely on the KPJAYI to maintain the current standard in our community. I know that not every teacher feels this way, and of course teachers pass on the tradition based one the way in which they were taught, but this astonishing level of continuity is why we can travel the world and comfortably walk into any Ashtanga studio and feel like we have a common language. 

The Jois family has been giving generously their time, energy and resources to ensure the purity and continuity of this tradition for many years. They make space for any student who is sincere in their desire to learn. They demand of us all that we become better than we believe we can be  and we are transformed in the process. Their steadfastness has earned my devotion, and that devotion is often times what gets me on my mat. 

WE PRACTICE A YOGA SYSTEM THAT HAS A LINEAGE, FROM SHRI T. KRISHNAMACHARYA, TO SRI K. PATTABHI JOIS, AND NOW SHARATH JOIS. THERE ARE MANY TEACHERS AUTHORIZED AND CERTIFIED BY KPJAYI, IN YOUR OPINION WHAT THEY ALL SHOULD BE AWARE OF TO HONOUR AND PROTECT THIS LINEAGE? 
We are in the midst of a modern renaissance of Yoga. I think it is important that we realize that Yoga as practiced today is being created in the pull between tradition and modernity. We must honor the lineage of Ashtanga Yoga and maintain the standards and traditions while doing our best to translate these traditions for our own culture, country, shala, and students. The teacher holds a vision that we receive through close contact with the lineage of teachers. We must take our place in the line to pass this vision on to our students at the students ability level, mentally, physically, and emotionally. As teachers, we cultivate the students potential to meet the high standard of the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, and give them the space to grow, even when the students don´t see the potential in themselves. Lineage and tradition are living things. As teachers, we should remember that we are servants and stewards. We hold the space and vision for the next generation to take its place in the lineage. 

YOGA IS BEEING SPREAD ALL OVER THE WORLD, WE CAN FIND SCHOOLS EVERYWHERE, ALSO ASHTANGA YOGA SCHOOLS. IN YOUR OPINION,  AS AN ASHTANGA YOGA TEACHER THAT ALREADY HELPED TO BUILD UP NEW STUDIOS. HOW YOU FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN THE YOGA SPIRITUALITY AND THE BUSINESS OF YOGA?
If we don´t keep the doors of the studio open, then everyone loses because there is no platform to spread the teachings. However, in a modern world i feel it is imperative that businesses, especially Yoga businesses become leaders in the community by having strong ethics and positive values. The most important part of any business plan, in my opinion, is a strong vision and core values. Theres will permeate every aspect of the business and spread to the teachers, employees, and students of the studio. When running a studio, it is best to constantly monitor the culture of the studio to make sure that it maintains yogic ideals. The marketing, policies, customer service, along with the teachers and staff should all be held to a yogic standard. In my experience, students respond positively to this integrity and take pride in being part of the community and the business thrives because of the quality of the Yoga that is practiced there. Those who teach Yoga and run studios should remember that what we offer is a service. We don´t always give people what they want, but rather we pass on a system that when practiced diligently will make them better, happier, and healthier people.  

AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION TO KEEP PRACTICING? 
The Indian word Dharma is often translated as "duty". I think, though, that it reflects a deeper significance. It is like we are all in this crazy world together and we all have our part to play. I believe the world is trying to evolve, and Yoga is what allows me to be conscious of my part in that. It keeps me clear in my mind and healthy in my body so i can be aware of my connection to the world that i live in. Yoga is my Dharma. 

IF YOU HAD TO ADIVE OTHERS TO START PRACTICING ASHTANGA YOGA, OR TO CONTINUE WITH IT, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM? 
Don´t ever give up. There are many reasons that we can find not to practice. We all go through that. There is frustration, pain, laziness. This is even written about in the Yoga Sutras. We have to see this as part of the practice and just commit to getting on the mat anyway, treating ourselves with compassion for the dissatisfaction or suffering that we experience, and realize its impermanence. There are many truths that are implicit in the Ashtanga Yoga system, but they may only become obvious after time, effort, and diligent practice. 

IN A WORLD THAT LIVES FOR THE OUTSIDE, ASHTANGA YOGA BRING US BACK TO OUR INSIDE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE US IN A SMALL SENTENCE, WHAT YOU FEEL AND EXPERIENCE EACH TIME YOU PRACTICE? 
Each day is different, but i try to remind myself before each practice that Yoga is a ritual of coming back to myself over and over again. 

THANK YOU!

quarta-feira, 14 de novembro de 2012

WHEN YOU ARE ON YOUR MAT

Todos sabemos que pensar de mais, pode levar a algumas dores de cabeça, especialmente quando estamos em cima do nosso tapetinho! Se anda a ter aqueles dias, que por mais que tente focar a mente na respiração, no seu corpo dentro das posturas, nos seus bandhas e dristhis,  e  a  bendita da sua cabeçinha, teima e teima em trazer mais uma preocupação? Lembre-se desta imagem e sorria um bocadinho e vai ver que a concentração volta no instante seguinte.
Boas práticas!

* imagem retirada de pesquisa online

**********
Thinking too much can sometimes have a devasting consequences!
We all know that thinking too much can lead to a few headaches, especially when we are on top of the mat! If you are having one of those days when the more you try to focus the mind on the breathing, on your body during the postures, on your bandhas and dristhis, the more your blessed little head stubbornly keeps on introducing more worries? Remember this image and smile a little, and you will see that your concentration will instantly return the next moment.
Happy practicing!
*Photo by online research.


sábado, 10 de novembro de 2012

ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME - PAZ MUÑOZ

NAME: Paz Muñoz.
AGE: 29.
PLACE OF BIRTH: Chile
PROFESSION: Ashtanga Yoga Teacher and Contemporary Dancer.
YEARS OF PRACTICE: 7 years.

HOW ASHTANGA YOGA ENTER TO YOUR DAILY LIFE?
Ashtanga came to me because of a friend, from the dance school, i was very curious about Yoga, i really don´t know way, haha..., maybe i was looking for some complement for my dance training... but she said to me." you have to do Ashtanga Yoga, it´s for you" and one day i went to the shala of Loreto in Chile, and then everything change, it as like i learned how to move my body again, there i was a complete begginer... the silence and the breathings, all this together made me felt something that i was looking for some time, even though i didn´t know what it was, it wasn´t the physical part that i find attractice, as most of the people think... it was something different. Then with time, i understood (this beautiful way of silence and movement), as the way to hear my own soul, and go deepeer.

SHARATH JOIS SAID IN ONE OF THE SUNDAY´S CONFERENCE OF LAST YEAR, THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT THE STUDENT/PRACTITIONER UNDERSTAND THE ASANA, EACH ASANA, THAT WOULD HELP TO FIND THE WAY TO DO THE POSE IN "STHIRA AND SUKHAM" STATE. DO YOU THINK THAT PRACTITIONERS LIKE YOURSELF THAT AS A BACKGROUND IN DANCE, UNDERSTAND EASIER THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE MOVEMENTS AND POSES, AND THROUGH THIS UNDERSTANDING IS EASIER FOR YOU TO FIND THE STHIRA (STEADY) AND SUKHAM (CONFORTABLE) ASANAS?
Yes and no, of course to have a background, in this case as a dancer, gives you an important base to work with your body in many ways, body awareness or consciousness of the body, tools to understand the way  your body works, and yes, that helps when we talk about asana just as something physical; strenght; flexibility, or in other level a strong determination and discipline if you want, which is very good foundation to find sthira and sukham, but for what i have expericenced and believe, is much more that have an intelligence of movement, this understand of asana can come from different ways, and have a previous experience with your body is only one. 

AS STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONAL DANCER, DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN DANCE AND ASHTANGA YOGA? 
Yes,  the way we breath and the coordenation with the movement in this practice creates this perfect synchronization, which is the same that you can find in dance. It doesn´t matter the way you move, the harmony is part of it. 

IF YOU HAD TO ADVICE OTHER DANCERS TO START PRACTICING ASHTANGA YOGA, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?
Well, i think there is something special  in this practice, which is attractive for dancers, more than the challenging movements, i want to believe there´s a door that you can open to know a little bit more about yourself with this practice, be more creative also, and this is a great gift for any person, specially artists. 

SOMETIMES WE NEED TIME AND EXPERIENCE TO BETTER UNDERSTAND AND FEEL THIS ASHTANGA YOGA PRACTICE, AND WITH THEM WE START SEEING AND FEELING THINGS IN A DIFFERENT LEVEL. WHAT HAVE CHANGED FROM WHEN YOU WERE ONLY A BEGGINER UP TO NOW?
From me is the incredible journey between "desire and don´t have expectation", this thing about just trust in life, be grounded, do what you have to do, this is something that you develop with time, and of course i´m still there.

AS AN ASHTANGA YOGA TEACHER, YOU OBSERVE THE DAILY PRACTICE OF YOUR STUDENTS, DO YOU NOTE ANY COMMON (S) OBSTACLE (S), THAT THEY FEEL AND NEED TO OVERPASS TO ACHIEVE A STABLE PRACTICE?
Well, i thing the most common obstacle is to see first all the obstacles in the practice instead to focus in a goal, at some point people start to put more attention in what is not possible, or in what is difficult, and then all seems more complicate... wake up really early in the morning, come more often to the shala, etc. Determination is the great value of this practice and i think that is what finally grounded you every morning on the mat. 

WHAT IS YOUR MANTRA AS A TEACHER?
Trust, trust in life... in what i´m doing, in what i feel, just trust. 

IN A WORLD THAT LIVES FOR THE OUTSIDE, ASHTANGA YOGA BRING US BACK TO OUR INSIDE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE US IN A SMALL SENTENCE, WHAT YOU FEEL AND EXPERIENCE EACH TIME YOU PRACTICE?
A deep silence and my feet firmly on the ground.

THANK YOU!
* photo taken from our personal archieve. Mysore, 2012.

quinta-feira, 8 de novembro de 2012

ROUND AND AROUND OF THE MIND

A nossa mente pode ser um verdadeiro impedimento para uma prática estável. Mais do que as limitações que possamos encontrar no corpo, seja pouca flexibilidade, força, resistência, etc, as da mente são sempre mais intensas, porque tem a capacidade de criar armadilhas à nossa disciplina, ao nosso "tapas".


Existem muitos aparentes obstáculos que surgem no início ou durante a prática, seja porque a sala está demasiado quente ou fria, ou porque calhou-nos um lugar que "não gostamos muito", que a sala está muito escura ou muito clara, ou  que estamos a  apanhar com correntes de ar, ou porque temos ao nosso lado um praticante que é "meio bruto", postura sim, postura não, lá vem para cima do nosso "mat"... postura sim, postura não, parece que vamos levar um encontrão... E nalguns dias por mais indicações que enviamos para nos concentrarmos, para seguirmos a respiração, para focarmos as posturas, bandhas e dristhis, sentimos que a nossa amiga ou inimiga mente, está sempre presente para distrair-nos.

Há medida que vamos adquirindo mais experiência, maior capacidade de observação, de auto-consciência, acabamos por ganhar mecanismos de defesa face às investidas da mente.

O engraçado de tudo isto é que aprendemos muito sobre os nossos limites e aumentamos as nossas barreiras internas. Viver situações de pouco conforto, ou cenários pouco perfeitos e mesmo assim continuarmos a nossa prática até ao fim, apesar do que a mente pode trazer,  permite adquirirmos uma maior capacidade de relativizar e acima de tudo, dá-nos uma sagrada dose de disciplina. E no fim da prática, enquanto bebemos uma abençoada água de coco e contamos o que aprendemos com tudo isto a um amigo, rimo-nos de nós mesmos, porque percebemos que no fundo nada disto são obstáculos, são apenas devaneios e testes de uma mente que teima em ser rebelde!
Boas práticas!

* foto retirada de pesquisa online

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Our mind can be a real obstacle to a stable practice, more so than our physical limitations such as a lack of flexibility, strenght or resistance, etc. The limitations of the mind are always more intense because it  has the capacity to create traps in our discipline, in our tapas. 

There are many apparent obstacles that arise at the start or during the practice, whether it is because the room is too hot or cold, or because we in a  space that we "don´t like much", because the room is too dark or too light, because we are caught in a draft, or we have a practitioner on one side who is a "bit rough", and every posture it feel like he will collide with us. And on some days, the more orders we give ourselves to concentrate, to follow the breathing, to focus on the positions, bandhas and dristhis, we feel that our mind - either our friend or our enemy, is always present to distract us. 

With more experience, we acquire better capacity to observe, self awareness, yet we are left with a defence mechanism when faced with the mind´s advances. 

The funny thing is, that we learn a lot about our limits and how to raise our internal barriers, how to live in situations with little confort or in imperfect scenarios, and  still continue our practice until the end, despite what the mind brings, allow ourselves a better capacity to rationalise and above all, this gives us a sacred dose of discipline. At the end of practice, when we drink a blessed coconut water and tell a friend what we learnt about all of this, we laugh at ourselves, because we understand that at the end of the day none of these are obstacles, but only whims and tests that the rebellious mind throws at us!
Happy practicing!


 * photos taken from online research. 

domingo, 21 de outubro de 2012

What they said about Mark´s workkshop...


"The workshop was very enlightening to understand the bandhas and to improve even the simple technics. For a beginner it was also useful to be with see the colleagues with more advanced technic and practicing the second series, it was very inspiring. I thank Mark for being  very patient to answer all the questions and to demonstrate what was not clear enough. Thanks Mark and Vera!" P.C.


"Grande em sua simplicidade, técnicamente excelente, Mark Robberds, enriqueceu minha experiência no caminho do Yoga. Precioso ensinamento transmitido durante a prática em sala e também fora dela. Muito obrigada. Um especial obrigado a Ashtanga Cascais e a Vera por terem proporcionada esse encontro com Mark e os demais participantes do Workshop. Saí de lá com mais amigos." A. O.


"The practice, spirit and fun shared altogether at the workshop is a beautiful manifestation of what the yoga community can create. Mark is a great teacher both on the asana and spiritual levels. His calm, bright and positive energy is a gift to his students."

P.M.


"Although I was only able to join 1 day, it was very beneficial & a lot of fun to see old friends and meet you people . Mark’s personality & positive energy is amazing. Well done, I look forward to another workshop soon."
T. S.
"Beautiful simplicity is present in the way Mark teaches yoga. He gave very valuable advices that makes a whole difference on the quality of my practice. Very gentle on adjustments. Not only he teaches yoga, but also love & devotion - an inseparable part of being a yogui. His smile, music & matras brought a lightness & sunshine into our hearts. I feel grateful." L. G.

This was a great weekend-Good for the body, mind and spirit...  J.G.                                                                                    


Mark's workshop inspired me deeply.
"The combination of devotion, simplicity, technique, determination and dedication to Ashtanga Yoga makes him a truly special teacher.
I found myself thinking in the middle of the workshop "He has all the characteristics and traits of a human I would like to have". Interesting thought.
He is someone I believe I would appreciate having as a long term teacher.
Thanks Mark. All good..."
J. B.


quarta-feira, 26 de setembro de 2012

ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME - JOHANNA GJESTLAND


NAME: Johanna Gjestland
AGE: 32
PLACE OF BIRTH: Norway
PROFESSION: Student
YEARS OF PRACTICE: 12 years

WHEN AND HOW ASHTANGA YOGA ENTER IN YOUR DAILY LIFE? 
I was introduced to Ashtanga Yoga 12 years ago. I was supposed to go to a classe at a dance studio in Oslo, but somehow ended up in a tiny yoga studio instead, where i met my first teacher, Naema Noor. I can´t really tell what made me go there, but i had a friend who had practiced there a fw times, so i guess that triggered my curiosity. At that time, there where no estabilished Mysore studios in Oslo, so for years i only practiced a few times a week in the afternoon. Sometimes i wuite practising for months, but i always endend up going back to Yoga. Something was there...

DO YOU RECOGNIZE ANY MOMENTS THAT HAD BEEN THE REASONS FOR YOUR DECISION TO BECOME A TRADITIONAL ASHTANGI - MEANING PRACTISING THIS YOGA METHOD 6 DAYS PER WEEK? 
Some people might just decide to start Ashtanga, "all-in" 6 daus a week from the first day, but for me that was something which developed gradually. I used to to gymnastics so in the beginning i was most amazed with the physicak effect the yoga had on my body. Even though i liked the physical change i started seeing in my body, i also loved staying up late, having later dinners with friends... I had a busy job at a big clothing firm...and did not want to give that up for a morning practice. But sometimes i did go to a morning practice, and i can still remember how my teacher Alex Medin, suggested that i should try to come more often. It took years to get used to the early morning practice, and a lot of changes in my way of living had to be made to fit the "new schedule". 

YOU ARE FINISHING YOUR STUDIES IN NUTRITION DO YOU RECOGNIZE ANY LINK BETWEEN THE FOOD THAT WE EAT AND THE QUALITY OF OUR PRACTICE? EXPLAIN US YOUR POINT OF VIEW. 
I think the saying:"You are what you eat" says a lot, and i will definitely say that there is a link between what we eat and our practice. I will not state what i think os correct to eat or not, because i think it is important to remember that we are individuals, with different nutritious needs, but what i can say is that eating a light, variated, vegetarian based diet, which are known to yogis as a Sattvic diet, will most likely affect your practice in a positive way. I think some yogis get too obsessed with what they eat/ or not eat!, and practising Ashtanga, which is a strong physical practice, will not benefit from dieting and starvation. The Yoga practice most often makes you want to eat light and healthy anyway, and i think it is important to listen to your body, and not force on a certain diet. 

THERE ARE A LOT OF ADVERTISEMENT IN MAGAZINES, BOOKS, MOVIES THAT SEND THE IDEA THAT YOGA, SPECIALLY THIS KIND OF PRACTICE LIKE ASHTANGA, HELPS PEOPLE TO LOOSE WEIGHT. DO YOU THINK THAT JUST YOGA CAN HELP YOU TO LOOSE IT, OR IT CAN´T BE JUST THIS? 
There is only one way to loose weight. Easily explained, that is to spend or burn more energy in form of exercise than the amount of energy you take in form of food. The body burns a certain amount of energy day without doing anything, but if you want to burn more then you need to do some kind of physical exercise. If a person starts to go to Yoga one hour a day, when he/she used to sit in the sofa, the person can loose weight doing Yoga, without changing the diet, but if he / she also changes his/her diet the change in body composition is more likely to happen. 
IN GENERAL, IF YOU HAD TO ADVICES US TO EAT HEALTHY, WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND US TO ADD IN OUR ALIMENTATION. SPECIFY TYPES OF FOOD AND HABITS OF EATING. 
I tried to avoid this in your question above, but in general i think is important to have a variety diet. If you base your diet around vegetables (lots of greens!) including beans and lentils, grains, fruit and nuts, and rather eat smaller portions, more ofthen that two big portions a day, you will probably feel that your body is "happier". Some people need to take supplements because of their metabolic status, because of climate or other reasons, but not all people do. In Ashtanga we sweat a lot, and when sweating we loose minerals, so making sure that your mineral needs are covered might be a good tip. I will also recommend eating nuts (ex. walnuts!) or taking some kind of oil to cover your need of essential fatty acids. One last advice: make sure you eat some fat (avocado, nuts, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil, or other kinds of seeds) with your veggies so that you facilitate the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). These vitamins will not be absorbed in to the body without fat present. 

IN A WORLD THAT LIVES FOR THE OUTSIDE, OUR ASHTANGA YOGA BRING US BACK TO OUR INSIDE. CAN YOU DESCRIBE US IN A SMALL SENTENCE, WHAT YOU FEEL AND EXPERIENCE EACH TIME THAT YOU DO YOUR ASHTANGA PRACTICE. 
I feel gratefulness to my teachers and guiders, and a peaceful mind. 

THANK YOU!


* photos taken by personal archieve, Cascais, 2012.


ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME

 ASHTANGIS DO MEU TEMPO é o título do novo ciclo de entrevistas que tenho estado a desenvolver junto de um conjunto alargado de praticantes de Ashtanga Yoga. Mulheres e homens, portugueses ou de outras nacionalidades, grupos etários distintos, com diferentes profissões e que têm em comum o Ashtanga Yoga.

O objectivo destas entrevistas é apresentar de forma sucinta histórias de prática e de vida, mostrando inspirações e motivações, obstáculos e dificuldades, conselhos e dicas.

Uma série de histórias baseadas nas suas vivências como praticantes e  de como estas experiências são utilizadas nos quotidianos.

ASHTANGIS DO MEU TEMPO é um projecto que nasceu de conversas com praticantes amigos e conhecidos, que partilharam novas ideias sobre esta prática, formas de executar as posturas e superar alguns obstáculos, de como viver intensamente cada respiração, ou de como levam aquela hora e meia passadas no tapete  para o resto dos seus dias.

Espero que gostem de as ler, tanto como eu gostei de as fazer.
Boas práticas!
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ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME, is the title of a new cycle of interviews that I have been developing together with a large group of Ashtanga Yoga practitioners. Men and women, Portuguese or other nationalities, different age groups, with different professions, and they all have Ashtanga Yoga in Common.
The objective of the interviews is to present in a succinct way the stories of the practice and of life, showing inspiration, motivation, obstacles, difficulties, advice and tips.
They are a series of stories based on the life experiences as practitioners and how these experiences are put to use in our daily lives.
ASHTANGIS OF MY TIME is a project that came from conversations with practitioner friends and acquaintances who have shared new ideas about the practice, ways of carrying out the postures and overcoming certain obstacles, how to intensely live each breath, or how to take that hour and a half spent on the mat through into the rest of your life.

I hope you like what you read, as much as I have enjoyed doing it.
Happy Practicing.

*Photo from personal archieve and illustration from Boonchu Tanti. 

terça-feira, 25 de setembro de 2012

HAVING A TOUGH MORNING PRACTICE...








Existem várias razões que podem tornar a nossa prática de Ashtanga Yoga mais díficil. Seja porque dormirmos pouco, comemos demasiado na noite anterior ou acordarmos em cima da hora da aula e tivemos de carregar com mais força no pedal da aceleração, ou darmos mais aos pedais da nossa bicicleta, sem tempo para despertarmos com calma e prepararmo-nos para o nosso Yoga. As causas que definimos como motivos para termos  uma prática má ou difícil são inúmeras e a maior parte das vezes, completamente distintas. Se alguns dias conseguimos identificar um motivo, ou um conjunto de motivos aparentes que justificam o porquê de um prática ser mais cansativa, há dias que não encontramos qualquer razão.

Até que ponto o antes da prática pode influenciar a hora e meia em que estamos em cima do tapete? Até que ponto o dormir bem, o comer bem, o acordar com alguma antecedência podem ajudar a que tenhamos um Yoga mais sentido e tranquilo, versus uma prática cansativa e superficial?

Embora tenhamos práticas de Ashtanga Yoga semelhantes, somos detentores de corpos e mentes diferentes, ritmos distintos e gostos únicos. Há praticantes que acordam em cima da hora da aula e não mostram qualquer problema na hora de praticarem, outros que precisam obrigatoriamente de acordar 1 a 2 horas antes do seu Yoga matinal, para terem tempo para despertarem o seu corpo e estar plenamente activos na hora de pisarem o seu "mat". Uns necessitam de uma chávena de chá ou café e outros não bebem nada. Há os que fazem  uma pequena meditação antes de iniciarem os primeiros movimentos de Surya Namaskar, enquanto que outros preferem estender o tapete, dizer mentalmente o mantra e começarem a prática. Os que gostam de se "esticar" um pouco antes de principiarem o seu Ashtanga e os outros não gostam de fazer nada para "aquecer". Os rituais são diferentes, não existem guias com uma lista de premissas concretas e válidas que aquando seguidas trazem uma prática fluída, consciente, estável e tranquila.

O Yoga não é uma realidade estritamente física, porque acomoda aspectos do plano mental, emocional e energético. Falar de uma lista de itens que devemos seguir antes da prática matinal não será válido, porque o que funciona com uns, poderá não resultar com outros.  Mas para ajudar todos os praticantes desta nossa casa de prática que pedem conselhos sobre o que fazer para estar com mais energia pela manhã, aqui ficam algumas ideias base, caberá a cada um de vocês experimentarem e validarem a sua eficácia.


Tentem comer  uma refeição leve na noite anterior,
dormirem entre 7 a 8 horas,
acordarem com tempo suficiente para
tomarem um duche morno e fazerem com calma a vossa higiene,
bebam uma chávena de chá ou tisana,
leiam um pouco ou meditarem criando o ambiente interno para a prática.
Não aconselho gastarem muito tempo com leitura ou com escrita de emails profissionais repletos de preocupações, ou estadias prolongadas pelo mundo do Facebook, se gostam de ligar o computador logo pela manhã, tentem encontrar um  equilíbrio entre o tempo que ficam online e o ambiente introspectivo que pretendem criar para o vosso Yoga.
Não tomem o pequeno-almoço (antes da prática), se têm tensão baixa bebam um chá ou se necessário, comam apenas uma peça de fruta, que sintam que tenha fácil digestão.

Se seguiram estes pequenos conselhos ou outros que estão a experimentar, e mesmo assim sentiram que o vosso corpo esteve particularmente pesado, tenham paciência com vocês mesmos, resgatem a atenção na respiração, dêem o vosso melhor e não forcem. Por mais difícil que possa ser aceitar e continuar, tentem... com certeza que voltarão ou começarão a sentir o corpo aos poucos a ceder, a respiração a ficar mais estável e a verificarem que depois da tempestade vem a tal da bonança.
Boas práticas!

*Ilustração de Boonchu Tanti e foto retirada de arquivo pessoal.

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There are several reasons why our Ashtanga yoga practice can become more difficult day to day. It could be because we slept little, ate too much the night before, or we wake up literally just before the class is about to start, and we have to really step on it or cycle like crazy to get to class on time, without a  moment to wake up calmly and prepare ourselves for our Yoga practice.  The causes of a bad or difficult practice are many and most of the time completely different.  If some days we manage to identify a cause, or a few causes as to why a practice is more tiring, there are some other days that we can't find any reason at all.

Until what point can the time before practice influence the hour and a half that we are on top of the mat? Can sleeping and eating well, or waking up a little earlier help us have a better and more deep and tranquil practice versus a more tiring and superficial one?

Although we all have similar Ashtanga Yoga practices, we all have different minds and bodies, different rhythms and likes. There are practitioners who get up just before the class and do not have any issues, others need to get up 1or 2 hours before the morning Yoga class, so they have time for their bodies to wake up and be completely active before stepping onto their mat. Some need a cup of tea or coffee and other don’t drink anything. There are those who do a small meditation before starting the first movements of Surya Namaskar, whilst others stretch out their mat, say the mantra to themselves and start the practice. There are those that like to stretch a little before starting their Ashtanga and others who don’t like to do anything to warm up.  The rituals are all different, there are no guides with a set list of things to do before a class, which when followed brings a fluid, conscious, stable and peaceful practice.

Yoga is not a strict physical reality, because it incorporates mental, emotional and energetic aspects. To speak of a list of items that we should follow before a morning practice would not be right, because what works for one, may not work for another.  But to help the practitioners of our house of practice who ask for advice on what to do to have more energy in the morning, here are some basic ideas, it is up to you to experiment and check their efficiency.

Try to eat a light meal the night before.
Sleep between 7 and 8 hrs.
Wake up with enough time to take a morning shower and take time calmly with your hygiene
Drink a cup of tea or Tisana
Read a bit or meditate creating an internal ambience for the practice.
I do not suggest spending time on reading or writing professional emails full of worries, or prolonged studies in the world of Facebook, if you like to turn on the computer only in the morning, try to find a balance between the time you spend online and the inner atmosphere that you create for your Yoga.
Do not eat breakfast before practice, and if you are stressed drink a tea or what is necessary, eat just a piece of fruit that is easy to digest.

If you follow these small bits of advice or others that you are experimenting with, and you still feel your body is particularly heavy, have patience with yourself,  take your attention back to the breath, do your best and do not force yourself.  It is more difficult to accept it, continue, try… for sure you will go back to or start to feel the body give in, the breath will be more stable and you will see that calm does come after the storm.
Happy Practicing!

* illustration by Boonchu Tanti, and photo from personal archieve.