Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes in the 6 weeks at AtmaVikasa

              Weight   Fat %   Water %    Muscle %   Bone density   Metabolic Age   Visceral Fat

25/09 -  69kg        17          55.5             54.3               3Kg                     23                         7

02/11     70.6Kg    10.3      56.1              60                  3.3Kg                  17                         4

After receiving my figures today  I have to say I was a little surprised. I wasn't expecting such changes, especially to my muscle mass. My usual routine in Mysore includes 2 hours of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and a 45min walk everyday at the lake, something which I haven't been able to do regularly since the course commenced. I thought perhaps omitting this from my schedule would have had a slightly negative effect. But then I realize that apart from Asana; Bandas and Pranayama effect and change the body on many physical levels.

In regards to the physical changes I have felt. I have to say i feel my flexibility has improved. What I have realized by practicing Archarays system is that it gives you a true representation of your flexibility. With Ashtanga I am usually dripping in sweat and by mid sequence I can quite comfortably go into Sutpa Kurmasana. Except in backbending, I generally didn't sweat too much in practice with Acharya, and because my body temperature was at a more constant and natural level during practice I would have found poses such as Supta Kurmasa impossible to enter. This got me thinking about what my true flexibility level is and that perhaps in Ashtanga I am being presented with a false degree. So it was nice and encouraging to see my 'natural' flexibility improve. Also, I found spending longer time in asanas very nice and meditative (well, not in all the asanas) Forward bends have always been difficult for me, however in spending several minutes in Janu Sirsasana or Paschimottanasana I really felt a deeper connection with the asana and appreciation.

Something else which has been a boon to my practice is to realize that I need to be more conscious during practice and pay attention to more details, especially when entering an Asana. This last week I sprained my neck which was totally my fault and due to me not paying enough attention to the details and feeling of Sirsasana. So, it has been good to find my faults in practice and hopefully be able to address them from now on. A more conscious practice will enable me to go deeper in my practice and the other elements of Yoga.

Apart from the physical changes related to my flexibility I have to say the changes in my diet have improved my digestion and general engery levels. Although as I've been in Mysore for a while now I have to say my diet and lifestyle was pretty good beforehand. I didn't make too many changes except excluding dairy and sugar; of which I will certainly try to cut back on. I realized I had been consuming too much sugar prior to the course. So now for my usual dinner, instead of having Yogurt I will have... You guessed it... Bananas 😉

In regards to my mind,  I think I had better preparation than a lot of other students as I hadn't come from a hectic western lifestyle and instead have been living a quite relaxed life comparably. I have never suffered from depression, anxiety etc, so I can't say I felt too many changes in my mindset as it has always been pretty positive.

Prior to the course I was practicing Pranayama, but never meditation. I will certainly add this my my schedule  and continue as I felt an improvement in focus and concentration during the practice. I did find the Bandas difficult, and only after 6 weeks do I feel I am approaching correct Uddiyana Bandha. I have always felt my mind is stronger or under more control than my body. So it brought me back down to earth realizing  to importance of the mind/body connection and that the Bandha practice is, initially at least mostly a mind practice. I will continue to work with Uddiyana Bandha and centre nauli. Trying to focus more on the muscles which need to be released/contracted in the practice.

Overall I am pleased with the physical results in the past 6 weeks. I will continue with the diet for the last 3 months here in Mysore at least and see what further changes can be found. In the future I would love to come back to do the Teachers Master program, unfortunately it won't be for a while as next year I have to pay more attention to rebuilding my finances! #yogainmysore #atmavikasa #yogatherapyindia

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