Last post was about how women organise things. I received a wonderful note from Jen on women in the building industry and her viewpoint on how things are starting to change and the more female approach that is emerging. I love it. I have never thought about that industry before which is crazy since I know a few women builders and handy(wo)men. In fact I recall, when living in Portland, a time when I needed a tool for something and instantly thought of my female over male neighbours. Portland is like that - it was definitely a place for genders to discover their opposite energy.
Her well thought out observations are here.
I started taking yoga classes at the local place about a month ago. It was lovely. New ideas from teachers, who are gorgeous, and being around the energy of others, which was the main reason. With so much change in my situation, I'm finding being around others immensely balancing right now, especially those that emanate warmth.
I took a class almost daily and purposefully took the "Slow Flow" class so that I could make it a daily practise and ease my body back into the movement. Of course, each teacher had their own personality but here is where I found a similar trait, and I do not attribute it to the teachers but the expectation of the clientele - "remember to breathe" became the only instruction on breath work. It's a good thing to mention but there is little guidance on how to work through the connection of breath to movement - which is the point to learning a vinyasa sequence. I can guarantee almost no one follows it. The reason I say that is when I observe the teacher asking students to repeat the sequence at their own pace, almost everyone follows her instructions again.
Any form of erratic breathing increases Vata, and yes, even in a yoga studio, and I'm talking about vinyasa style classes as opposed to yin or the old school basic hatha. The alignment of Ayuveda and Yoga can be seen in regulation of breath.
You can go at it from the Ayurvedic side of creating a diet and lifestyle (routine!) that encourages rhythm and easy digestion, thereby leading to a calmer breath,
You can go at it from a yoga practise point of view of doing a simple vinyasa that encourages rhythm in movement and breath so, ideally, when you get up off the mat and move around the rhythm stays in your body like a song in your head.
Ideally you do both. Vata is air. Vata needs rhythm. When I do the Abhyanga sequence the flow mirrors the movement of air in the body so that each of the 5 subdoshas move right. As you know when air is stuck or erratic it causes anxiety, stress, dry skin, constipation, hair fall out, brittle bones, indigestion, ADHD, excessive sensitivity, issues in reproduction, cold extremities, excessive talking, fatigue, emaciation, wrinkles, etc.
Be mindful that your yoga class is not the cause of excessive Vata.
Sometimes a vinyasa is treated like a series of asanas. The teacher will have you hold each position of the sequence to stretch it out. You can also catch your breath here. I have a different perspective, one which approaches the merging of movement to breath.
You mark out the sequence very gently with the right inhale/exhale to the movement. When I say "mark out" I mean you don't go into full position. And you don't stop. If you find your breath can't catch up, then make the movements smaller and less extensive. I start my vinyasa like this each morning and find that as my breath gets stronger (kind of like swimming) my movements get broader. I let my breath dictate how far I can go and I follow it, not the other way around.
The trick is to not stop and catch it because it creates a fast breath to get into the pose and then a slow breath to catch up - ie no rhythm. And the trick is not to add too many poses to the sequence, especially not as a beginner. Let your sequence become second nature so you can dance it and lose yourself in it.
I have compassion for teachers trying to teach a class of 20/30/40+ students. However, I find this idea to be so fundamental that I don't understand why it's not foundational, especially for beginners.