30º of Yoga

In a world of perfectly sculpted power yoga and CrossFit enthusiasts, I’m a bit of an anomaly. Completely content in my body, I didn’t care about the fact that I no longer had a flat abdomen. But once I’d crossed the dreaded milestone of 35, I realised that I had to start doing something more than our regular walks, not just to stay in shape, but also to stay healthy. I’d been toying with the idea of doing yoga for quite some time, but didn’t really do anything about it…till a month ago.

Recovering from an operation is one thing. Rebuilding your stamina is another. Since I had already been thinking about yoga  before the surgery, once the doctor gave me the green signal on starting exercises, I contacted Parmin Johar and set up classes immediately. A private class with her seemed right for me, allowing me to slowly build up my core strength, without the stress of keeping up with a pace set by others.

The first few sessions were…interesting. Having learnt yoga in school, I had some idea of what I was expected to do. Learning to breathe right. Focusing on my body. Concentrating. Some of the asanas and mudras came easily. Others were more than a bit of a challenge. I still enjoy Vrikshasana, and still hate Baddha Konasana. But it was all very manageable.

As the weeks passed by, Parmin started notching things up. No longer content with letting me lift, stretch and move as much as I could, she started pushing for symmetry. I found myself being asked to lift my legs, or bend forward so my chest was at a 30º angle. Along with this came the symmetry of pranayama. Turns out, it’s not to so easy to align your breathing while lifting your leg at an angle of 30º. But it was definitely easier than the 90º triangle twist of Trikonasana, which was is quite a challenge! And then came the alternate angles of Bharmanasana, keeping those parallel lines of arms and legs equidistant from each other. All I wanted to do, was let go and collapse in a (not very) straight line on the floor. Not so fast, my dear! Even lying down in a supine pose, it was all about angles and symmetry. 180º with complete alignment of my limbs, before I rolled over, keeping my arms and legs parallel, and then raised my leg (again) to an angle of 30º. All this, while I kept count and continued to inhale and exhale to a mental count of 10…and tried to not look a complete klutz! We finally reached Shavasana, the most relaxing of the asanas, and I thought that I could finally take a break from the all that math, but not before I made sure that my arms were at a 45º angle from my body!

And here I thought yoga was just about breathing and flexibility. Turns out there’s more mathematics in it, than I had realised. With every millimeter of progress I make in yoga, I wonder if I’ll finally make some progress in mathematics as well!

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about the angles in asanas, you check out this Prezi.

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