Here’s a little sample of my ongoing rings practice (both push and pull, as well as straight arm and bent arm movements) that I’ve been developing over the last 2 1/2 years thanks to Ido Portal. Some people might think these movements don’t sit well with an asana or Yoga practice, but I have found them to compliment and integrate perfectly with asana. First of all, as many people are aware these days, active pulling and hanging - combined with increased grip strength, provides a counterbalance to all the pushing movements done with wrist extension found in modern yoga practices. Secondly the pushing movements done on the rings like L-Sits, dips, shoulder stand etc are similar to what is done on a yoga mat but infinitely harder given the instability of the rings - yet the skill translates directly back to the mat. That is one of the benefits of learning new skills - the nervous system thrives on this: and so I am finding that the more different things I learn - the better my asana practice becomes. Having no intention to be a gymnast or to prove anything, learning the rings has been an important part of my evolution in terms of what learning means to me. It sounds cliche, but truly it has been enjoyable to learn something new without being goal orientated.
Another important and positive discussion going on in our culture today is that building strength doesn’t necessarily correlate with becoming ‘tight’; which is something that many yoga practitioners fear. In reality, building strength through a full range of motion, is a safer and more effective way to move better and in the long run may prove to be a wiser approach than relying solely on flexibility training. Many of the assumptions about the effectiveness of asana practice, such as increasing bone density, or the ability to cure diseases, are now being challenged, and the question of “Where is the scientific proof?” is being asked. It’s through these discussions that our traditions will continue to evolve. It is our duty to utilise the information available to us today in a way that continues to contribute to our ongoing discovery and exploration. There’s much more to say but I’ll leave it there today.