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Simple and complex yoga asanas. How to find a golden mean?

Elena Gavrilova, 54, the mother of two children, practicing yoga about 10 years, told about accomplishing simple and complex yoga asanas.

Since I began practicing yoga ten years have passed. I remember that in the beginning asanas which I learnt seemed to me very easy and frivolous.
I was followed the instructor or sequence in the video and wondered how all of this is simple and what benefit we can get from such practice, how these same asanas can help. 

Now I understand the point is that I performed the asanas very roughly, not exactly. And the more I listened to the instructor, followed his advice and recommendations, the more I feel the work of muscles, ligaments and the whole body in each asana. And then the asana became not so easy to accomplish.
At the same time the impact of practices, for example, on posture became more and more obvious. I began to control the position of my body while working at the computer, walking, during standing or sitting in line. I helped my body by performing different asanas aimed at stress relief, relaxation and it immediately responded with gratitude.

And regular (daily) hour or hour and a half yoga practices, performing certain sequences of asanas undoubtedly positively influenced on health, body condition and the potential of the organism as a whole.

To be honest from the beginning I had favorite and least favorite asanas. Of course, favorite asanas were ones which were easy to accomplish even in their end positions and weren’t exceedingly uncomfortable and painful. Least favorite asanas were ones where I had they had to get over myself with great difficulty, discomfort and even unbearable feelings. And despite the desire and aspiration, I didn’t always get the desirable result: reaching proper and end position in a particular asana.

When practicing alone I often ignored them or put off least favorite asanas for the next time. In these cases classes with a teacher, instructor and classes in the group have a great advantage.

And at the same time my modest experience allows me to have the idea that the asanas become favorite or least favorite not according to the degree of work ability and the desire to overcome laziness and the physical limitations of the body. It’s often connected with physiological peculiarities, anatomy and innate qualities of our bodies. For someone one asana can be rather easy to accomplish and the other one can be unattainable.

For example, Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend with a straight back), which seems simple at first glance requires permanent work even 10 years after I began to accomplish it. And I still have a way to go, have something to overcome practicing this asana. But I will never refuse to include this asana into my yoga practice. I feel its positive impact on the state of the muscles of the thighs and the wellness of the spine, maybe without apparent dramatic progress, but at the level of feelings I surely feel it. The main thing is not the usual performance of the asanas from time to time, but a hard work every time reaching the end position in the asana. "With every breath go down more keeping your back straight..."

And here is an opposite example. I really wanted to achieve efficient performance of Padmasana (Lotus Pose). For a while I was trying to accomplish this asana and moved forward very slowly. Suffering discomfort and quite painful feelings I practice the Half Lotus Pose. After some time I began to feel discomfort and pain in my knee joints. After reading, thinking, hearing some opinions and advice of my teachers I came to the conclusion that accomplishing this asana should be approached more carefully. So, for practicing pranayama I chose the alternative to this asana according to my physiological characteristics. For me it's Virasana. In this asana I can be in a sitting position for a long time keeping my back and spine in the correct position and work on breathing, concentration and meditation.

This is how I came to the necessity of careful, thoughtful, but at the same time hard and persistent work and efforts to achieve greater and maybe less greater results in practice and life.
And Sirsasana is my favorite asana. I accomplished it completely independently and do it every day, often twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. I keep this asana for at least five minutes.

Even such a simple asana as Tadasana if performed well and regularly helps me not only to maintain my posture but also to react to the moments when my body lets me know about the slightest sickness. And I never forget about this asana throughout the day. When I have an opportunity I try to remind myself about the correct position of my body in the standing position, about my spine, back, posture and shoulders.

Now having gained some experience in yoga I understand that each asana is presented to us by the teachers for the good. Properly chosen sequences of asana and regular practice make me happy and improve my health and nervous system. So, they efficiently improve my life.

I wish all beginners and those who have been practicing yoga more than one year – please be attentive to your body trying to improve it through asanas and not ruin the opportunities that you acquire from birth.

Try to find a golden mean in your practice between the austerity (deliberate self-restriction) and gross violations of Ahimsa (hurting the body).

I wish you success in the practice of yoga!