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Thread: Incorporating Primal into Yoga? Or just general personalisation. page 4

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoMom View Post
    I used to do Astanga daily, a 1hour 45 minute - 2 hours daily (primary series plus sometimes about 1/4 into the second). I was vegan and didn't often eat enough calories plus was in college under stress and little sleep. After several years of dedicated practice I made very little strength gains and even smaller flexibility gains (although I was naturally pretty flexible to begin with). I totally burned my adrenals and was tired all day after yoga.

    When trying to go back to it, even after weightlifting for a few years, I still get so burnt out if I do it more than a day in a row. I'm curious what kind of strength gains you've seen over say 6 months of work in people eating well and also if you see greater improvement in those who only practice a few times a week instead of daily.

    I don't want to make huge stereotypes but I will anyway.... Why do you think the gurus in books look weak and flabby (though obviously incredibly flexible) and yet Westerners who practice tend to look lean and strong?
    Paleomom, it sounds like you're pushing yourself too hard in your practice. Have you looked into some of the slower forms of Yoga? Astanga is pretty hard core. Although saying that, you can push yourself too hard in any practice. My practice used to be very slow, but sometimes I would come out of it absolutely exhausted. My teacher would say that I was processing a lot of emotional stuff, and I definitely was, but I also think my practice was too static - I was holding poses for too long and I would have benefited from my dynamism. I think Astanga has the opposite problem. I think a slower practice might be more appropriate for you right now.

    In terms of strength and flexibility: in my personal experience, a lot has to do with diet. It took a long time for me to build up strength when I was vegetarian / vegan, but I see results much more quickly now that I eat a more nutritious diet. Now I can practice everyday and I'm rarely sore or in pain, but on my diet of lentils my body was aching after a session. It's completely mad how much stronger and more flexible I became when i gave up wheat and beans.

    In relation to the Indian gurus: the Traditional styles of Yoga are slower, and much of the strength comes from co-ordination and intelligent movement, as opposed to muscular strength because, as Zoe pointed out, this is a spiritual system for them: not gymnastics. But I also think diet plays a role. And I think it's partially genetic! Any Westerner I know who has a dedicated practice and is lean builds muscle quite quickly - particularly with Astanga. Meanwhile I have friends with Indian heritage who are considerably fit, but they have no muscle tone. I read before how the skeletal sytems of the differents races are slightly different, but I'm not sure if that's been debunked or if it's now just unPC to say...
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  2. #32
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    It is supposed to be a fitness tool, that is part of the equation. it is designed to be therapeutic to the body and energy body -- or at least, that's what the krishnamacharya lineage is about. So, that is definitely part of the equation.

    It's just that many people jump into too many things too quickly (including teacher training/etc), well before their bodies are ready for it and without the modifications that are required for them to develop the strength and flexibility to do what needs to be done for the therapeutic (and thereby fitness) benefit that they desire.

  3. #33
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    Thank you Zoebird and YogaBare for your thoughtful responses!

    How interesting that many are weight training in secret! Very tricky. I certainly know that yoga shouldn't be all about what it will do physically for me but when something takes that much energy and time it does need to fulfill my physical needs since it doesn't leave time or energy to do other things on top of it.

    That is a very long practice Zoebird! My teacher certainly encouraged us to move things along a bit. It was a Mysore class but if I didn't get there early he would say to shorten it by doing only 3 of each sun salutation and when he came to help with certain poses he wanted to push to the next one before I could even get 5 long breaths in. At home I certainly slowed it down a bit but at the same time I didn't want to take even longer to do it.

    You might both be right that Astanga isn't right for me at this time yet I feel such a resistance to finding a new style. Astanga feels very pure somehow. It is so defined, predictable and complete - strength, cardio, meditation and flexibility.

    I might try 1-2x a week and see what happens. I think I can safely do that much without regressing healthwise.

  4. #34
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    That's funny about the secret weight training. I used to do a ton of Pilates and got great balance and strength and then got woefully lazy / out of shape. To get fit again, I started weight training first, plus some Pilates before doing yoga. I think the weight training helps my yoga tremendously. I have strength to hold poses and can focus totally on form because the base is stable. I love both but feel best when I do both.

    We have on of those 'McDonald's" type of studios in town that seems to keep churning out tons of new instructors, but it's obvious when you take a class with them that they don't have the experience they need to really guide students. I see newer folks struggling to keep up, getting into positions that are painful because they think they have to. And then they don't come back, probably thinking that yoga just isn't good for them. It's sad.

  5. #35
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    Astanga is no more or less pure than any other style. It's definitely intelligent and functional in a lot of ways, but it's really no more "pure" than any other form or school of yoga. It's just Jois's take on Krishnamacharya's stuff, and there are *lots* of takes on that material.

    the real difficulty of it is the time commitment for it. I don't have time for 2.5 hrs anymore than I have time for 5 hrs and so on. 45 minutes is a good stretch considering my work/life schedule, and as such, I had to do something balanced and intelligent in that amount of time. It's definitely possible.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaleoMom View Post
    I don't want to make huge stereotypes but I will anyway.... Why do you think the gurus in books look weak and flabby (though obviously incredibly flexible) and yet Westerners who practice tend to look lean and strong?
    Indians in general are not known for their physiques. I believe it mainly has to do with their plant based diet high in lentils and other beans. Even bodybuilders and wrestlers seem to always have a layer of fat around them.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
    It is supposed to be a fitness tool, that is part of the equation. it is designed to be therapeutic to the body and energy body -- or at least, that's what the krishnamacharya lineage is about.
    I agree - Yoga means Union: it's about unifying body, mind, spirit (I know you know that, just explaining for the good of all ).

    Some people believe that Yoga was created as a means of stretching out the body so that the Yogi could sit for long periods of time in meditation. Others believe Yoga is a meditation in itself. I'm inclined to go with the latter because Yogis recognised that the physical body was also a spiritual matter and that it needed to be maintained, just like the mind. In either case, obviously the physical conditioning was important.

    When I say "fitness" in relation to Yoga I think of people treating the body like a machine in their practice.

    And Zoe, I'm so sorry - I just realised that I didn't reply to your last message on this topic! I love your insights into this - I'm learning a lot from the dialogue
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  8. #38
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    I, too, prefer the tantra over the raja approach to yoga. It just makes more sense to me.

    For me -- as a person who markets yoga as a living -- the whole point is to just meet people where they are. In my mind, if people want to enter yoga for fitness, then I say "yes, it is for fitness." becuase, quite honestly, it is for fitness -- and possibly the best fitness you can get into because I sequence it to bring about overall good posture and range of motion for painless, effortless living. And for most people, that's "fitness" (particularly once they aren't overly concerned about what their body overall looks like and are more interested in what it is capable of. And so I work to develop that capacity for myself and for my clients -- the capacity for diverse, effortless movement.

    Of course, the whole package comes along with it -- it simply cannot be divided. But, I think it's fair for an individual to deem for him/herself that it is best left as only a tool for energetic balance. Or only a tool for fitness. Or only a tool for better breathing. Or meditation. Or spiritual enlightenment. Maybe 3 of 5 or whatever. However many. And you know, either way? All is coming. It's just how it is.

    End of the day, my primary job is to get people to practice, and to encourage them to continue to practice, and to move them forward in practice, and so on. It's up to them to decide how to use it, and when they tell me, I facilitate that.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
    I, too, prefer the tantra over the raja approach to yoga. It just makes more sense to me.

    For me -- as a person who markets yoga as a living -- the whole point is to just meet people where they are. In my mind, if people want to enter yoga for fitness, then I say "yes, it is for fitness." becuase, quite honestly, it is for fitness -- and possibly the best fitness you can get into because I sequence it to bring about overall good posture and range of motion for painless, effortless living. And for most people, that's "fitness" (particularly once they aren't overly concerned about what their body overall looks like and are more interested in what it is capable of. And so I work to develop that capacity for myself and for my clients -- the capacity for diverse, effortless movement.

    Of course, the whole package comes along with it -- it simply cannot be divided. But, I think it's fair for an individual to deem for him/herself that it is best left as only a tool for energetic balance. Or only a tool for fitness. Or only a tool for better breathing. Or meditation. Or spiritual enlightenment. Maybe 3 of 5 or whatever. However many. And you know, either way? All is coming. It's just how it is.

    End of the day, my primary job is to get people to practice, and to encourage them to continue to practice, and to move them forward in practice, and so on. It's up to them to decide how to use it, and when they tell me, I facilitate that.
    I totally agree. A lot of people get into Yoga for the fitness aspect, but then it usually does start to touch them in other ways
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

  10. #40
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    Has anyone heard of Ido Portal? Zach turned me on to him, and he's completely amazing! Here's his views on Flexibility and stretching: Ido's Blog: Stretching and Flexibility
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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