My Yoga Puzzle
by Johanna Eriksson
Johanna Eriksson is a former professional mogul skier from Åre, Sweden. Her passion is skiing and of course yoga. She is also the author of a cook book which has enabled her to travel through South America during 2013. She completed her 200 hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with It’s Yoga Nica in November 2013 and her goal is to spread the power of yoga among the skiers in Åre. You can contact Johanna on FB. Johanna Eriksson.
Yoga is lika a gigantic jigsaw puzzel with more than 10 000 pieces. In the beginning it feels almost impossible but once you get a couple of pieces together it feels like heaven even if you know that the remaining pile is gigantic.
When I came to Ostional, Nicaragua, I hadn’t even open the box with my yoga jigsaw and during the first days I opened the box and let everything out and I then realized the limitlessness of yoga that it is not only a way of physical practice or a philosophy but most of all a lifestyle.
One of my piles of pieces soon started to come together, the physical asana part. As a former high level athlete the hard physical asanas was my thing but the pieces for the inner strength wouldn’t come together that easily. I felt the need of the two to balance, to fit together in order to succeed. With that insight I was ready to embrace the practice from different angles.
With this new insight I started to build my practice on different dimensions. I envisioned the different planes to be focus, balance and mental clarity and strength. The last one, mental clarity and strength, stared to come together as I have a long experience from mental training while competing as a mogul skier. I have, together with friends and trainers, developed my own personal method to control the mind in difficult situations like avoid worrying about things I can not control, which in fact is one of my favorite “mantras”.
To get to know yourself, with your weaknesses and your strengths, are key points in yoga and mental training. In “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” there is a sutra that sais: “What you think you shall become.” For me this means that a positive mental attitude creates balance in all area of your life and this is the recipe for my jigsaw pieces to start coming together.
Something that often happens when you are about to put pieces of a puzzle together is that somebody comes along ad wants to help. There are times when you do not have the answer yourself and help is very much appreciated but it the “help” can also create new obstacles or confusion. This is when your ability for adaptation is important. There will always be negative people, those who do not understand or those who are in the way of your progress. What you have to do is to stay focused and positive on your path.
I have already created a corner of my yoga puzzle and I will continue building my puzzle as I grow and learn and find my meaning in life. I want to teach my yoga students that they already have all the pieces of the puzzle, the challenge is to get the pieces to fit together. Learning how to overcome obstacles and learn about yourself. Ultimately it will be your attitude who determines how far you can get in building your puzzle.
by Johanna Eriksson
Normally we do not have to think about that we breath. It just happens automatically . The body is not pushing air into the lungs, it is the pressure form the atmosphere that creates the air to move. The body has to make space for the air to reach its goal – this is when conscious breathing starts, we can influence the way we breath if we become aware of the breathing process.
This is what we do when we use Ujaii breathing in Ashtanga Yoga. The victorious breath, as it is also called, is the kind of conscious berthing we use during pranayama and asana practice. In Ujaii we inhale and exhale through the nose while creating a hissing sound. The diaphragm is active and we use our full lung capacity causing our chest to move in the tridimensional plane.
The controlling of the breath has many effect in our body. I guess many of us has heard “take a deep breath” when we are upset or stressed as we instinctively know this will calm our nervous system.
To breath deeply and relaxed during asana practice makes us stronger and after pranayama we are filled with new energy, prana. It is like a cycle, we need to control our mind to become conscious about the way we breath and when we do, we feel more in control of our mind. This makes us feel good and we stay calm and relaxed as long as we stay present with our breath.