The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Gut Feeling

Does anyone else have a issue with their belly during the second ashtanga sequence?

When The Elder first taught me the seqence, I was huffing and puffing too much to focus on that soft bit that never seems to go way. But when I practiced in the quiet of my yoga room, that bit of belly was the only thing that stopped my chin from touching my knees. Sure, the hamstrings and back muscles also played a part but all my eyes could see was that litle bit of belly. And the further I got into the sequence, the more unslightly it grew. By the time I reached janu sirsasana c, I was almost in tears. My ego had turned mild dissatisfaction into full-on disgust, and I couldn't continue practicing. I hated the sequence and that bit of belly.

Later that evening, I texted The Elder telling her what had happened. She replied, "I told you ashtanga would bring up strong emotions. Don't worry about it. We'll talk about this over lunch soon ok."

Our busy schedules have kept us from that lunch date, but since then I've tried to move beyond that severe self-criticsm. The last three times I practiced, I breathed into that bit of belly, cajoling it to soften and relax. It's a painfully slow process.

I still don't like the seated sequence for its complete disregard for my physical insecurities. I still get upset with that bit of belly and struggle not to scowl through the rest of the practice. But perhaps the more I practice, the more I'll have to face my least favourite part of my body and the closer I'll get to overcoming the emotional attachment towards it.

If anyone has a similar experience, I'd love to hear it!

6 Comments:

Anonymous Angeline said...

Yes yes! Guilty as charged! It's unflattering and downright disgusting to find the "muffin effect" during the seated postures in Ashtanga (to make matters worse, it sometimes rears its ugly head during Trikosana too, especially when one over-indulges during Xmas and CNY!). Hahaha.

But I'm happy to say, I've moved beyond that, though. Unconsciously, I surprised myself when I stopped caring about the 'muffin', just like how I stopped caring about how I sweat like a pig, and the hair looks like Fido Dido at the end of practice!

Now, if only I could say the same on how it gets to me, when my ankles refuse to cooperate during Janu Sirsana C...

Maybe one day, we'll bump into each other in Ashtanga class :)

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tummy bummy - we all have our hang-ups. wait till you get to the shoulder stand and all you're staring at is the flesh hanging down towards!!! you.

relax yogi-bear, that tummy will fade-away from your sight in due time - you will learn to engage the bandha's and whatever belly that is still there will not matter anymore.

am enjoying your blogs. moi, the elder.

8:38 PM  
Blogger starlight said...

Muffin effect. Angeline, you took the words right out of my mouth! what a relief to know i'm not the only one who has this ridiculous attacks of vanity during a practice! I will strive to move beyond such trivial things too. But I love the sweating and the wet bits of hair at the back of my neck after a great practice. and don't even get me started on janu sirsasana C.....or navasana. i hope to bump into you someday too!

Elder - now you've added one more thing for me to obsess about during shoulderstand. that's why I can't wear those tiny tank tops during class...very bad for my self-esteem...and ego! ;) and that muffin will sink and disappear over time? quick teach me the bandhas then!

2:32 AM  
Anonymous kat said...

Hi! I am very very new to yoga, and would like to learn more. But the various sites that pop up upon googling is absolutely mind-boggling!! Could you direct me to somewhere that is suitable for a beginner like me? Thanks so much.

3:34 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

Hi Kat. Welcome to the wonderful world of yoga! :) You didn't mention which style you practice, but the best website I have found which covers all aspects of yoga is www.yogajournal.com. The articles range from postures, of health to meditation, and there's a section for beginners as well. Yoga Journal comes in a magazine version too and any good bookstore would carry it. Have fun browsing the site and most importantly, enjoy this new journey!

6:03 PM  
Anonymous kat said...

Thanks a lot, starlight. I am so new, I didn't even know there was a particular style I am supposed to practise! :D

Will check out the site you recommended to learn some more.

6:26 PM  

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