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Old 03-11-2013
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
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Caronis and Luisa
Thanks for your thought-provoking comments and questions. WRT Iyengar as compared to vinyasa-style yoga. I don't believe my early experience in yoga was with pure Iyengar classes -- i.e. led by an Iyengar-certified instructor. Rather they were Iyengar inspired or influenced -- at least as far as my imperfect understanding of Iyengar goes. By that I mean we held many poses for 5 to 10 breaths.

I didn't understand the distinction at the time, but as I gained experience and was exposed to other styles of yoga I came to appreciate my good fortune in starting there. The main benefit as I saw it was that this style allowed my to patiently familiarize myself with each pose, understand its challenges and learn that refinement opportunities are almost limitless.

I started TI in 1989 and began practicing yoga around 1992 or 1993. Before long my experiences with yoga began to have a transforming influence on how I taught and practiced swimming:

1) As I understood that the three main elements in yoga practice were (i) the poses, (ii) breathing and (iii) mindfulness, I saw that the same three elements could become central to swimming practice. And when those are the central elements, swimming is transformed from exercise to a movement art.

2) I also understood that it was possible to 'break apart' the freestyle stroke (or any other stroke for that matter) into a series of consequential moments -- the Skating position for instance. And that we could examine, understand and refine each of those moments by creating a drill dedicated to doing so. In other words an Iyengar approach to swimming skill development. Swimming whole stroke would then become a vinyasa approach to swimming skill practice.

How am I practicing now? I do 90% or more like Iyengar, holding poses for 10 to 20 or more breaths. About 10% I move on the breath, mostly variations on Sun Salutation.

I still record on my calendar how many minutes of practice I do. This doesn't render those minutes any less mindful or meaningful. I do it because it lets me see in a glimpse by looking at a calendar page how many consecutive days I've practiced and to calculate at the end of the month how many days and average minutes per day I've done. I do the same with swimming.

In Feb, for instance, I swam on 17 days for an avg of 50 min. I practiced yoga for 27 days (missed only one!) for an average of 31 minutes. If you follow my swimming practice, you know I like to measure and document things. It's an extrinsic reward that has helped stoke my intrinsic motivation.

It's also because I'm a goal-oriented person and know that goals work best when they are SMART
My goal for Feb was to practice yoga at least 5 days of 7 and to average 30 minutes. Goal Met.
My goal for Mar is to practice at least 5 days of 7 (I practiced 9 days of the first 10, missing only Mar 3, the day my father died) and to raise my average to 35 minutes.

The important thing is that, after 70-odd days, yoga has become a habit. Which was the main goal.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 03-12-2013 at 09:38 PM.
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