“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
Yoga has evolved from the hippie image it once had to become a practise which over 300,000 people in the UK now enjoy. From the gentle Hatha, to the energetic Ashtanga, yoga helps you to go inside yourself and escape from the world. It enables you to realise the unity of the body and the mind and to appreciate your body for it’s functioning rather than condemning it for it’s size and shape. Progression in yoga takes commitment but after a few goes at it, you will realise that it does not take time, it gives time. It quietens the mind so after your practise you are not worn down by mundane worries or distracted by anxieties.
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with Kino MacGregor (DVD)
Forget about sitting down crossed legged and humming, this isn’t a DVD for the newbie yogi. Although there is a beginner’s option, mastering the fluid movements of Ashtanga yoga in time with your breath is tricky. It is a good idea if you try a few Ashtanga classes with a teacher before trying this DVD so you can get the feel of the postures and the movements.
The DVD starts off with sun salutations, which can be described as a combination of calming forward bends, brief squats and burpees like movements, ending up in ‘down-face-dog’ – an inverted bridge. The idea is that with each breath you move through the salutation, becoming in tune with your self and leaving your troubles behind. Physically, the sun salutations are challenging but they are sure to warm you up on even the coldest of winter days. Kino emphasised that you should slow down the movements or speed them up in time with her breath. She is incredibly strong and flexible, which can be off-putting at the times when she lifts herself into a handstand before lowering her legs down slowly into a plank positions while you’re struggling to jump back into plank from a squat position. But it is helpful to see what to aim for and how the combination of relaxing and exercise can tone your body and transform your mind.
The DVD then moves quickly onto the asana – the poses. Beginning with the standing asanas, the postures requires flexibility, strength and focus to complete. Kino gives options for both beginner and basic yogis which is helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of the practise. She then moves onto the sitting asanas which involve the burpee like movement after completing each asana. Try to feel down heartened that Kino can increase the difficulty of her yoga practise while your arms and legs and feeling that pleasurable ache of muscles pushed to their utmost. Kino has had years of training in Mysore, India with her teacher, Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. If you practise daily (but traditionally not Saturday or new/full moon) then you too could reach the same level as practise as she has achieved. Unfortunately, a lot of people do Ashtanga for some external goal, you have to do it for yourself. It provides the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.
If you are a total novice then the pace of this DVD probably moves a bit quick but, if you have some experience of Ashtanga, then Kino’s DVD will inspire you to keep challenging your muscles and your mind.