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vesic_jelena vesic_jelena

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Jelena Vesić  Ashtanga Yoga Student Teacher at AshtangaYogaTO • jelena_vesic@yahoo.ca • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Pressing into Handstand” video:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BRkTJi9jrq8

We’re supposed to be better versions of ourselves for ourselves. But no one really tells us that. We are told to behave like a lady. And we’re always reminded of what’s expected of us. Even when we feel constricted, restricted and suppressed by the ideals of societal norms, we’re convinced of being wrong. So we repress our unwelcome thoughts, emotions and ideas. We ignore our intuition in favour of a supposed greater good. And then, inevitably, we fail. We’re quickly shamed, blamed and stripped of our glory. “You should have known better!” we’re told.
. . .
But better for whom?!

in the alleys of #hongkong 🦋

Did you know that Hong Kong, according to a UN study, has one of the longest life expectancies of any country or territory in the world? It also happens to be the fourth most densely populated region in the world, with a population of over 7 million people. Kind of an unexpected combination, right?!
. . .
I haven’t done my research to know exactly why this is the case. But in short time that I’ve been here, I’ve noticed one thing - public spaces, in particular parks, seem to offer, even encourage, some kind of wellness/mindfulness activity. Aside from basketball courts and soccer fields, there are designated quiet areas. And yes, they actually are just that — quiet!
. . .
Right across from where I’m sitting there are people meditating. No yoga mats or meditation pillows in sight. The city’s park benches seem to do the trick. With their eyes closed and palms in their laps, people are just holding still. Others are totally immersed in the flow of Tai Chi. The stillness and calmness are an almost necessary antidote to the hectic aliveness of this city. But the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong isn’t an obstacle to one’s personal well being. What’s conflicting isn’t necessarily irreconcilable, after all.

When you’re trying really hard to be all fancy and show off, but your husband’s fingertips and toes in the video insert some unwanted reality check... #whocares

Not clouds. Ice, snow, and glaciers. ❄️

Here is my (unsolicited) advice: everything is better with a dog. This is a clip from today’s practice to backup my claim. Do you agree with me? How could you not?! 🦁 #weeklyfluff

Looking up. Always. ☁️

Day 1️⃣4️⃣ of #shittygymnastics is a #kapotasana, or Pigeon Pose. We saved the best (or worst) for last.
. . .
Most of us dread the day this f$&%ing pose becomes part of our practice, though secretly we really want it. I remember when my whole practice was a countdown to Kapotasana. Actually, it was all I thought about; and sometimes I still do. For me, Kapotasana is a definition of love/hate relationship.
. . .
How many tears and fucks have been induced by Kapo? And what about all those times it left you feeling super mad, sad, or absolutely confused? Doubtful, fearful, and helpless... It’s so easy to just give into it and give up. It’s uncomfortable and dark. It brings up so much shit, most of it beyond words or your comprehension. And yes, all the meanwhile your legs are burning, your teacher is lovingly screaming at you to breathe, and the sweat is pouring out of everywhere... Yes, your knees can sweat, too.
. . .
But once you’re able to do it (and being assisted into it counts), it quickly becomes one of those nothing-makes-you-feel-so-proud-of-yourself. Grabbing your heels, all of a sudden, becomes an achievement of the lifetime, though in reality (and outside of the walls of your Shala) no one really cares.
. . .
So swear. And giggle. Be angry. Sweat. Breathe into your doubt, and see your fears. Face your darkness. You’re only human. Be uncomfortable, but don’t give up.
. . .
Show us your best Kapotasana, or Pigeon Pose. Any attempt will do. 💩👌 And don’t forget to tag us, @davidrobsonyoga & @vesic_jelena, along with the hashtag #shittygymnastics.

Day 1️⃣3️⃣ of #shittygymnastics is a #ekapadarajakapotasana, or One Leg King Pigeon Pose. In Ashtanga, this is the very last asana of the Third Series, Advance A. #enoughsaid
. . .
Those close to me know why I choose Ashtanga. They’ve heard all my reasons and explanations. They patiently sit and listen to me as I try to put into words my experience of practice, what it means to me, and most importantly, what it does for me. Over the years I’ve gotten better, but it is no easy task to speak of something so deeply personal. The time on my mat is always an intimate experience, and anytime I try to verbalize it I can’t help but feel intimidated and exposed. And yes, dumb, too! Maybe that’s the point...
. . .
This is when I turn to books. In his commentary on the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, Chip Hartrangt, explains the necessity and importance of asana. He articulates it so eloquently - it is insightful, clear and persuasive. (I highly recommend it, of course.) So the next time you find yourself at a loss for words and tongue-tied as you try to explain why your toes need to touch the back of your head, think of his words:
.
"Āsana is a window that opens onto some of our deepest personal conditioning and the suffering it generates. ... Our growing familiarity with subtle internal experiences helps us to recognize the ways our bodymind contracts in the presence of hurt, delay, desire, and other features of daily life. We begin to catch ourselves earlier in the process of tightening, viselike, around difficulty, disagreement, or frustration. We can then relax, noting how this embodies the intention to know the moment more clearly and openly."
. . .
Beautiful, isn’t it?!
. . .
Show us your best Ekapadarajakapotasana, or One Leg King Pigeon Pose. Any attempt will do. 💩👌 And don’t forget to tag us, @davidrobsonyoga & @vesic_jelena, along with the hashtag #shittygymnastics.

Day 1️⃣2️⃣ of #shittygymnastics is a #Natarajasana, or Dancer’s Pose. In Ashtanga, this asana comes towards the end of Third Series, Advance A. It’s a deep backbend; it requires lots of strength; and so much focus to maintain the balance.
. . .
Unlike handstand, I can’t just do this pose. It requires work to get into it. My body has to be ready. For this reason, I almost never do this pose outside of my practice. I could probably push, pull and twist my way into it, but at what cost?
. . .
My asana practice is my reminder to stay in my body. Above all, it’s my way of remembering to honour my body. It is easy for me to self-criticize and get caught up in finding everything that’s not right. I notice my faults and mistakes way before I see my strength and beauty.
. . .
I am extremely harsh with myself. It's kind of perfectionism that is far from constructive and good. It is not get-shit-done kind of perfectionism either. More often than I'd admit, it is self destructive, wasteful, and at times completely paralyzing.
. . .
Daily practice, however, disrupts this behavior. It pushes me to deal with this side of me. How? It may not seem obvious at first, but the very physical nature of my practice teaches me to soften, surrender and stay humble. Through my practice I’ve been learning to appreciate my body. Sure, mean, judgy shit comes up all the time. But so does self-praise! And sometimes admiration. These days I am more proud and humbled with what I’m able to do no matter how imperfect and shitty it may seem on the outside. 🦄
. . .
Show us your best Natarajasana, or Dancer’s Pose. Any attempt will do. 💩👌 And don’t forget to tag us, @davidrobsonyoga & @vesic_jelena, along with the hashtag #shittygymnastics.

Day 1️⃣1️⃣ of #shittygymnastics is a #Trivikramasana, or Standing Split. In Ashtanga, this asana comes towards the end of Third Series, Advance A. And I have to admit, I absolute love this pose.
. . .
It isn’t easy. Nor does it evoke solely feelings of joy and love. Some days I’m easily frustrated by this pose as I struggle to find and maintain balance. So what’s my magic formula? Well it’s more like a little mantra: “slow and steady wins the race, slow and steady wins the race...” 🐌 I am not kidding!
. . .
But in case that’s not enough, here is few more things to keep in mind:
•slow down your breath, and move as intentionally as you can;
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•stayed focused by fixing your gaze on a particular spot - say, smudge on the floor/wall;
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•maintain your concentration by paying close attention to a particular sensation in the body - pick one, any, and stay with it - I often focus on the engagement in my bandhas;
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•lift through your bandhas! As a woman, this means: (1) lifting through the Kegels, which feels like holding your pee - this is Mula bandha; and (2) rolling in your belly as opposed to simply sucking it in - this is Uddiyana bandha.
. . .
Show us your best Trivikramasana, or Standing Split. Any attempt will do. 💩👌 And don’t forget to tag us, @davidrobsonyoga & @vesic_jelena, along with the hashtag #shittygymnastics.

Day 🔟 of #shittygymnastics is a #Vrischikasana, or Scorpion Pose. It is super fucking difficult, and as such, it is one of those poses that will test your focus and equanimity each time. If you’re flexible, you’re going have hard time with it. And if you’re strong, you’re going to struggle with it. But if you’re patient, it will happen.
. . .
What’s been the biggest lesson in learning Vrischikasana? It’s an ongoing lesson in non-attachment. This doesn’t mean I stop trying. It doesn’t mean saying “I don’t give a fuck!” Because I actually do! I practice everyday! Yes, I care about my asana. And I am devoted to my practice. This is why today I am able to do Vrischikasana.
. . .
As contradicting as it may sound, my struggle with this pose has helped me cultivate and understand non-attachment as experience of total openness to the moment. One day I’m in love with it, and the next I can’t stand it. Yesterday it was a struggle, and today it’s a breeze... The difficulty of Vrischikasana has reminded me, many times over, that non-attachment is profoundly liberating and uplifting. In cultivating non-attachment I learn to let go of arbitrary expectations and aspiration in favour of acceptance and humility. This is why I’m in love with shitty gymnastics.
. . .
Show us your best Handstand. Any attempt will do. 💩👌 And don’t forget to tag us, @davidrobsonyoga & @vesic_jelena, along with the hashtag #shittygymnastics.

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