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One Percent Yoga: How to Practise Yoga Every Day

One Percent Yoga: How to Practise Yoga Every Day

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One Percent Yoga: How to Practise Yoga Every Day

Lunghezza:
250 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 2, 2014
ISBN:
9781311910554
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Do you want to create a daily Yoga practice? Having difficulty fitting such commitment into your busy schedule? Never quite seem to manage to keep it going?

With clear instruction and links to online videos, One Percent Yoga will help you overcome the usual pitfalls of a busy life and quickly sustain a simple daily Yoga practice. Whether you're a complete beginner or a more experienced practitioner who wants to make the tricky move from weekly classes to home practice, this book is for you. You don't need to bring 110% effort to bear to make daily practice a reality! Not even 100% - just 1% will do the trick. This 28 day course of 15 minutes' daily practice will soon establish the Yoga habit in your body, breath and mind, and help you to unlock the benefits of regular yoga movement and breathing.

Scott Rennie will give you his insight and experiences from many years of teaching others to sustain a daily practice as a Yoga therapist in the Krishnamacharya tradition. With an easy-going approach based on deep embodiment and the development of intimacy with your body and breath, Scott's light-hearted and humorous teaching style will keep you eager to hit the mat each day.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Apr 2, 2014
ISBN:
9781311910554
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

I started writing this part in the third person and got about two sentences in before the act of talking about myself as if I’m someone else, like a salesman detailing technical specifications, made me want to wretch. That first sentence probably tells you more about me than what is to follow. I am definitely Scottish, and very proud of my nationality but not to the exclusion of all the other wonderful nations of this world. I live in Edinburgh with my family but I’m always wandering, visiting friends, teachers, sacred sites and beautiful beaches, so you might also find me in your neck of the woods at some time. If not, invite me over and I’ll see what I can do. I’d like to say that I’m a Yoga and meditation teacher and bodyworker, but while that is true it seems too limited to describe all the wonderful things that have come my way. In my time I have also been an accountant (my University education) and finance manager, a police officer (including many years as a detective), a photographer, a leader of sacred ceremony and for a time worked for a well known fruit-based technology company. Now it seems that I am a writer too, assuming I can continue to drag myself away from Facebook long enough to write another book or three. I suppose that all I can do is say that right now I teach Yoga and meditation group classes and one-to-ones, all of which is a big disguise for what I love doing best which is talking with other people (usually humans). Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working in Yoga with a number of wonderful teachers both at a local and an international level, including Richard Freeman, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, T.K.V. Desikachar, Paul Harvey, Ateeka and my former teacher, Kausthub Desikachar. My main focus in practice these days is in unfolding the wonders of embodied meditation practices under my current teacher, Dr. Reginald Ray of Dharma Ocean Foundation. I tend to spend a relatively long period of time each year in meditation retreat, so please don’t be surprised if you try to get in touch and find I’m gone for a few weeks. I love movement of all forms, especially dance, and have such a wide and varied taste in music. I am a Tantsu practitioner and love promoting this beautiful and healing approach to bodywork whenever I can, usually by randomly insisting that anyone who shows the slightest interest in it shares a session with me. I am such a foodie it is hard to believe, and with my particular specialisation in devouring desserts I am also very glad for a fast metabolism that keeps me in shape. I love walking in nature, one of the many brilliant aspects of living in Scotland that keeps me here. Last but not least, I am always deeply grateful for my students, which now includes you. In the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali the deeper meaning of the very first sutra reminds us that the student comes first, as without students there is no teacher. Thank you all for your interest and commitment.

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Anteprima del libro

One Percent Yoga - Scott Rennie

Dedication

This book is dedicated to the memory of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, teacher of teachers, without whose genius this book would never have been written.

Introduction

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."

St. Augustine

You cannot learn Yoga from a book.

Believe me, I’ve tried it on three distinct occasions, and it simply doesn’t work. There are subtleties and nuances in any Yoga practice that you just don’t pick up in words and pictures. Even as an experienced Yoga teacher and practitioner, whenever I’ve learned something about someone’s approach to Yoga and later met them in person, they’ve taught me something different to what I had picked up from their books. Most books, even instructional Yoga books, are edited by someone other than the author, so that what they wrote often isn’t what you read. I once pointed out to a Yoga teacher what seemed like an air-sea change between her book teaching and her in-person teaching, and she told me that the editor had altered it after she sent in her manuscript.

So now you’ve heard the bad news, and are probably sitting there wondering what you’ve just paid for, here’s the good news. First, I don’t have an editor—I’m self-publishing, so everything written here is as I wrote it. Second, this is not a book. It arises from the way I teach my beginners’ classes, so it’s actually more like a beginners’ course in Yoga, but aimed at the development of home practice. It also doesn’t rely solely on words and pictures, as I’ve included online video links to actually show what I’m talking about in practice, and thanks to the wonders of the internet there’s a level of support and communication open to you via email and Skype that doesn’t exist with traditional books.

Finally, I should confess that I’m not going to try to teach you Yoga. At least, not in the way that you probably expect me to do. I’m guessing that most folks buying this book are looking for someone to explain how to make shapes with their body; that for whatever reason you’ve decided you’d like to know how to get into those weird and wonderful postures that Yoga people do all the time. I’m afraid that doesn’t even remotely interest me. You see I’ve been practicing Yoga for long enough to be sure of one very simple fact: making shapes with your body isn’t going to make your life any better!

So what am I actually going to do over the fifty-thousand words and pictures? What I want to do is to teach you how to change your habits. I want to help you learn how to change your habits and your approaches to Yoga practice, in such a way that you will find it easy to do the practice I give you every day for twenty-eight days. In that time you can really get to know the benefits of daily practice, and, hopefully, continue your practice in some way after we’re done.

Of course I’ll teach you what you need to know about the Yoga postures, and a lot about the breathing too. I’ll help you to make those shapes with your body, since it’s all part and parcel of this Yoga game. I just want to let you know from the outset that making shapes with your body is a very small and fairly unimportant factor in the whole Yoga approach. Much more important is for you to learn how to engage in Yoga practice in the right way, which will in turn help you engage with the rest of your life from a very different perspective. I want to help you on this, your first step on the Yoga journey, because I know from experience that the first step doesn’t always go well.

The first time I came to Yoga I was just sixteen years old. I had spent the summer with my dad in a gated community in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia. Now I was the quiet and studious type up to that point, but the sun and sand and boredom drove me to a party lifestyle, drinking alcohol for the first time and staying out very late every night. I often find it quite ironic that I didn’t drink until I ended up in the world’s driest country, where making, drinking and possessing alcohol is completely illegal.

After two weeks of a vampire lifestyle, my body was suffering. I woke up one afternoon and instead of just getting ready and heading out to find where the party was at that night, I took stock of my life. I was having fun, but something felt wrong. My body felt alien, my mind was wasting away and even deeper down, I just knew that I had to do something different. I wanted much more than what that way of living was giving me.

For some reason known only to the Fates, my dad had a copy of B.K.S. Iyengar’s book Light on Yoga in his collection. I can only guess that, as an avid runner, he picked it up at some point, as people do, to learn about stretching. I have little idea how I knew anything at all about Yoga, but looking back, I really was very enthused by this find, and had a strong impression that Yoga would help me out. I scanned the book, looking for some sort of programme that would take me on the path to physical restoration. Patience has never been my strong suit, so after a few minutes of reading I reckoned I knew enough about Yoga, and I started practising.

The first posture I had to do in the chosen sequence was the Tree. If you don’t know it, you stand on one leg with the foot of the other leg pressing against your upper thigh. So I changed into my shorts (because I thought it was a kind of exercise) and gave it a go. Now this was the 1980s, and the shorts we Brits wore back then were short indeed. The Americans in their long Bermuda style shorts thought us pretty funny (even more so when we wore Speedos in the pool), though I’m sure none of them foresaw my imminent problem with Yoga. Tree Posture demands quite a bit of friction between the foot and thigh to hold it in place, as I worked out very quickly. What I hadn’t anticipated was the effect of my foot sliding down the inner thigh of my hairy Scottish legs as I tried to keep it in place, and the pain of all my leg hairs being pulled out as I did so. Try as I might (and I did at least give it a few wholehearted attempts), I couldn’t seem to get into the Yoga posture without the pain.

My drink-addled teenage brain seemed incapable of coming up with a genius solution to this problem, like putting on a pair of trousers that covered my legs. So I did what any self-righteous teenager would do and gave up Yoga before heading out to party again.

So, if you’ve ever tried Yoga and given up, welcome to my club. Setting aside the sheer entertainment value of my first painful Yoga experience, I’m telling you this story so that if you’ve ever tried to get a Yoga practice going and failed, at least you know now that you have me for company. If I can get going, then so can you. But let me also point out that it took me the best part of another fourteen years to really establish a solid practice.

Like me, I bet you’re quite impatient, so I’d like to help you shortcut that fourteen-year limbo period and move straight into regular practice. We’ll make a point of learning from all of my experiences and find a more efficient way through the pitfalls and trials of daily practice. For starters, the very practice that we’ll do is so short and simple that you really cannot—not in any rational way or with any justification that stands up to the slightest questioning—fail to bring the habit of Yoga into your life. So we’ll take away all those standard bullshit excuses that I used to hear, and we’ll give you something manageable that won’t dominate your day.

Aside from keeping that first practice very short, the main thing that I’ve learned about the difficulties of establishing practice is that it isn’t usually the Yoga side that makes people fall down. I say that I’m not going to teach you Yoga, because there’s a much harder nut to crack than the contortionist’s techniques of wrapping your legs around your neck or touching your forehead to your knees. The primary obstacle, the thing that will stop you dead in your I want to practise tracks, isn’t tight hamstrings or immobile hip joints. It’s your head. It’s what’s going to go on in your old grey matter.

Yoga is all in the mind. It’s the first time I’ve said it, but you can bet it won’t be the last. Your battleground will be up there in your head. It will be in your resistance to the hard work of daily practice, but with some preparation I can help you find the best ways to counter it. We’ll start by finding out what will inspire you strongly enough to keep returning to the mat day after day. We will build up a clear and thorough understanding of the specific attitudes and approaches to practice that will help you most, and that won’t leave you in a tangled mess and thinking of giving up after a few days. Then we’ll take a look at working out what’s good for you, and how to change the practices of Yoga to suit your current lifestyle and the needs and abilities of your individual body. Then we’ll put that understanding to the test in the practice itself, and you can start to reap the many benefits of developing body, breath and mind in harmony.

Once you’ve got your practice going, I’m pretty sure you’ll also find that the on-the-mat, habit-changing lessons that you learn will begin to serve you out in the off-the-mat world too. This is the wider perspective of Yoga—as a means to bringing transformation into your life. In the Yoga lineage that I studied in, the Krishnamacharya tradition, this is known as the Yoga Therapy model. Let me be clear, the word therapy doesn’t imply that there’s something wrong with you or that you’re ill. It just indicates that your reasons for doing Yoga are more focused on personal change than those of many others, who engage lightly with Yoga practice for more recreational purposes.

This Yoga Therapy model looks on Yoga as a journey. One day you’re sitting there quite contented, and then something happens. You take a look at your life and decide that you no longer want to be over here. As you think about it, as you give it some real depth of consideration, you realise that you actually want to be over there.

At first your destination may be unclear: you may just start with a feeling of not wanting to be here. But with enough time and attention, eventually you may work out that you think things would be better in another, specific place. There may be things holding you back, preventing you from making that move. You may have fears or commitments, or even just doubts or a sense of caution. But eventually, if the desire to move is strong enough, you will move from thinking about it to actually doing it.

Now you have a destination: you know where you are and where you want to be. Your attention can now turn to how you’re going to get there. Of course there are several options: there are different routes and methods of travel, and a wide variety of approaches to your journey. Some may want to get there fast—not caring about the scenery or ecological impact of their chosen vehicles, they look for the fastest, most direct route. Others may prefer a meandering path, enjoying the views and engaging in the local culture. There may be restrictions to consider, from factors such as time constraints or even finance, since every traveller needs to look at how much they are willing or able to pay for their journey.

So you research the route and the options available. You also look into local customs, language, climate and other factors that will determine exactly what you need to take with you. Then you pack the right equipment for that journey: a walking trek over mountains will be very different to a train journey stopping at major cities. Finally, you step out on the journey itself, experience all its highs and lows, see the sights and do the deeds, and eventually, you reach that destination. That’s not the end though, as you still need to unpack, to integrate what you’ve learned on your journey and to celebrate what you’ve achieved.

Although it’s often easy these days to plan and undertake even the most epic of journeys by ourselves, there are always some situations where we you not have enough knowledge and understanding to go it alone. So common sense guides you to seek the help of a local guide, one who knows the terrain and has the skills of navigation that will prevent you becoming lost or stranded. With their help, you find shortcuts and gain recommendations to make your journey easier or more interesting. As the guide gets to know your capabilities, your physical limits and your finances, they can help you get the journey that best meets your personal needs.

Yoga is such a journey: without the benefit of years of training and experience, most of us could do with some careful guidance from a Yoga teacher. Of course that can prove geographically difficult, even in this age of easy travel, especially if we are looking for the right kind of teacher to bring the right kind of connection. So for now, just for this first step of your personal practice journey, this book (with me behind it) will be your guide.

We’ll start by looking at where you want to go, and how Yoga can help you begin to move in that direction. I’ll tell you a little more about my journey so far, to help you see how it might all begin to unfold. Next we will look at your own physical capabilities and how much effort and time you’re willing to expend, and from that we’ll develop an understanding of the many options that the tools of Yoga offer for your journey. We’ll pack the right equipment—the approaches and attitudes to personal practice that will see you gain most from your daily practice.

So let’s set off on our journey together, with a firm commitment to practise for twenty-eight days. That’s a journey that is just long enough to let you begin to feel the results of your effort, but not so great an undertaking that it will put you off. When we reach that destination, it will be time to unpack your Yoga experience and see what you’ve gained from it. Of course, we never rest long in the Yoga world: just like nomads, we are always looking towards the next destination. So we’ll finish by taking a look at some of the ways you might wish to take this Yoga practice further.

But for now, let’s take our minds back to the first step with that all-important question—where?

A Dream of Faraway Places

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends

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