Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yoga Mala

Five years ago I was a regular practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga in the style of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India. My main interest in yoga was to develop strength and endurance to support my training in Brazilian jiu jitsu: on occasion I competed regionally in submission tournaments, my successes there were sporadic at best, but I enjoyed it.

I managed to work my way up to about an hour a day of yoga. What I found to my surprise was an overall improvement in not only my physical but also my mental health. I initially had zero interest in the philosophical aspects of yoga, but I came to change my mind over time. The concentration on the inner workings of the body and of the mind is highly therapeutic: the focus inward is a healthy withdrawal from the frenetic pace of life and material obsessions. As Jois is fond of stating: "practice, and all is coming."

This was also my first introduction to Indian philosophy and ethics. I have been particularly moved by the closing prayer traditionally said at the end of a practice:

"May all be well with mankind. May the leaders of the earth protect in every way by keeping to the right path. May there be goodness for those who know the earth to be sacred. May all the world be happy."

For many reasons, I stopped doing yoga. My stress levels have since gone up quite a bit and I can feel myself grow tighter and more tired. I decided to make time again for Ashtanga Yoga in my life. The first two sessions were brutal, but invigorating. I'm hoping this will be a first step to some much needed lifestyle changes.



Blogger Mark Little said...

Photographs please!

7:50 AM  
Blogger Gypsy Girl said...

Great post!!! I love yoga for many of the same reasons. It not only helps me physically, but mentally and spiritually too. I also noticed that the more I read about yoga and learn about it, the more I am able to keep up my daily practice, because yoga is so much more than just the asanas(poses).
Stay with it!!
thank you for giving me more motivation.
Gypsy Girl

7:58 AM  
Blogger Greg Pavlik said...

Well, Mark, I don't think you want photos of me doing yoga these days. Except for comic relief, I don't think they'd be of any use. Give me a year to get back into it, then we'll see.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Asia Nelson said...

Hi, Greg. I'm a yoga instructor out of Waterloo, Ontario. You and I share interests in yoga as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (which I've recently traded for Krav Maga until I find a bjj teacher in my area again).

I'm interested in knowing something from you: Do you find that you draw on what you've learned from yoga as you work? To put it another way: Do the techniques you learn in yoga help you think more creatively, release pressure in the moment, keep you focused when under a deadline, etc.?

I'm considering running a "Yoga for Techies" as I live in the home town of Research in Motion. What would you suggest my approach be, given your technology leanings, to getting RIM folk interested in yoga?

7:26 AM  
Blogger Greg Pavlik said...

I certainly think that the yoga practice helped me focus and deal with stress. To the extent that I consciously drew on it for work, I don't know. I did run yoga sessions before work for a while at Bluestone and I don't know how others felt, but it was something from which I benefited for sure.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,

I used to do all yoga positions when I was growing up, but now I am only doing pranayama(meditation) everyday for 1/2 hour and it is mainly for my self-realization. I understand what you are saying.

If you are more interested in yoga, there is a place in Berlin,NJ where they teach yoga every first sunday.


Were you teaching yoga @ bluestone? voww..probably you were doing it only for the development guys! I was in ATG for a year.


10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just beginning yoga so it was really useful for me to read that! Thanks!

9:50 AM  

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