All Posts from August, 2010


August 27th, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

There is no question that yoga is healing. For the past week, I have had a pain in my shoulder that just would not go away. I thought to myself, yup, this is it, the first signs of aging. Nothing I seemed to do helped until I came to class. Somehow with all the stretching and the forward bending and the Trikonasana-ing, the pain went away. But it turns out that part of the pain may have come from the way I am doing Chaturunga. Chaturunga is one of the hardest asanas for me. How to gracefully go from plank, into an open hearted push-up and then bring your chest open for upward facing dog seems very challenging, even though I have been doing this on and off for 12 years. Yesterday, after hundreds of chatarungas, I realized I needed an adjustment: shoulders.

So this is how it goes. You’re in a forward bend, you straighten your back to prepare and you get into plank, legs strong, back straight, butt high but not too high, inner elbows facing each other, hands firmly planted. From this you go down, not too far down, but down, elbows in, close to the body, chest open and, here’s the key, shoulders open. From what I understand, you don’t want to curve in, to look down with your whole body. You want a feeling of openness throughout. Then, with grace, you move up and out of chatarunga and into upward facing dog, and then, smoothly, downward facing dog. Yes?

It’s amazing how many times I have done this Surya Namaskar A and I still am learning. Every time, it seems to be a different sequence. And that’s what keeps yoga interesting, the changes and shifts that are constantly happening. And beyond that, and possibly most importantly, our reaction to those changes and shifts. It’s important, I find, to smile in these moments. And the smile doesn’t have to be outward but to give yourself that sense that it’s ok, that it doesn’t have to be perfect, that there is no perfect, that we’re here to learn and to grow and that we do that every day and sometimes we do it with our shoulders pulled back and our chest open and other times we do it differently. The point is, we’re all in this together, right?

Commitment and Devotion

August 17th, 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Yoga has come to mean so many different things for different people. For some, it’s exercise. For others, it’s a physical healing. Some come for the meditative aspect of it and others for the community it fosters. But what binds all of these is commitment and devotion. If we are to practice properly, we must practice regularly. And in this case, by practice I mean actually getting into asanas. Now, that doesn’t mean everyday, it doesn’t even mean every other day. But we certainly need to be committed to coming to the mat regularly.

So this raises the question, to what are you devoted. Where do you put your energies on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Is it work? Is it family and friends? Is it yoga?

Asking this question is quite important because in the answering of it, the commitment deepens and you suddenly realize what is working and what isn’t. Maybe we’re putting too much devotion into work and not enough into personal development. Maybe we want to see our family more often but we replace that by devoting time to shopping.

Whatever it may be, there is no question that when we practice, we are committing to something and this act can inform us of ways to do the same in other areas of our life.