parkour, precision and patience (with a dash of frustration)

parkour training certainly offers a lot for someone to chew on, physically and mentally. i’m really starting to like the strength and technique building of these tuesday sessions as they’re much more like my ashtanga practice: disciplined, measured, and technical. i highly recommend parkour, you know, if your ashtanga yoga practice is getting too easy.

last night we practiced my beloved precision jumps again. this time we measured our progress (distance and height), which always piques (and keeps) my interest- i don’t like competing with other people, but i LOVE competing with myself! there’s nothing better than creating a baseline and then tracking it over time. repetition allows my field of vision to narrow, my concentration to deepen, and my body awareness to focus on the task at hand. after marking the distance of our precision jumps (which, to my dismay, are supposed to be both high and long) we got to keep jumping, jumping, jumping and re-marking our position. so i played with jumping higher, or jumping further, or using my arms more, or changing my breathing pattern. always asking the questions: what works? what doesn’t? repetition (eventually) leads to precision; and patience allows the mind to work on the problem at hand rather than dwelling on the frustration that wells up when fatigue sets in and ‘precision’ seems very far away.

yes, i’m frustrated! granted, i’m building strength much faster than i imagined when i started. my quads are gaining definition, my biceps are filling out, and i’m a lot less sore the next day. but i still can’t seem to get further, higher, stronger fast enough. and on top of that, the lingering fatigue makes it challenging to get through my yoga practice- when i do get to practice.  so i feel like i’m losing ground on both fronts. it’s very frustrating! and yes, i do sometimes think about giving up. but when i’m not obsessed with what i can’t do, and i think about how i feel when i’m practicing (both ashtanga and parkour) and how far i’ve come in those practices, it’s a complete high. so quitting (either practice) is not an option.

i know this state is temporary. as the buddha said: ‘everything is suffering, everything is transient’. not necessarily encouraging, but very practical advice. and the practice of yoga demands aparigraha: non-grasping. so an opportunity exists for greater understanding and practice of the yamas, yay! more work! [sigh]

Ekam practitioners will be happy to hear that i am now realizing how completely irritating it is when you’re working very hard on a posture, you know what you’re doing wrong, and you’re trying to do it right, and those little bits and pieces just don’t seem to be under your control right now, and then someone tells you (in the nicest possible way, of course) how to do it correctly. you want to scream ‘I KNOW!’ but you smile and nod and say thank you. i welcome these moments because they tell me i’m on the right track (mentally at least), and they keep me humble. so in future i will strive to be less completely irritating. i’ll rather keep my mouth shut and give you a nice firm adjustment instead.

and lastly, where have all the parkour ladies gone? i miss you, come back to practice!

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11 comments

  1. interesting. I am a lady and found Parkour a few weeks ago. with no one in my town to practice. I just started Ashtanga Yoga so I do not find it ‘easy’ lol! but. I do not like quitting things. 🙂 so kept up with yoga of course, and accidentally stumbled upon a group that were actually gonna start training in parkour/free running.

    went last week, but couldn’t go this week cos i had just landed. when I got home with 30 minutes left of training, I just went, to ‘turn up’.

    Even more guys where training, and they are all pretty strong and it felt truly intimidating. Which is strange cos when I train in ashtanga yoga, i dont feel like this. So definitely an obstacle to overcome. But there are no girls there.

    When I got there yester, I noticed one girl watching them train and felt intimidated by that too! (WHATS WRONG WITH ME???!!!! :D)

    These emotions of course will pass. Of course.

    But just writing to say that your last sentence really inspired me to keep training. cos world wide there are not enough parkour or ashtanga yoga african ladies… 🙂

    This was a very uplifting message to read.

  2. I did not click to notify me if you comment. It would be nice to hear about your journey so far. If not, thank you for sharing anyway.

  3. I am currently based in the Czech Republic, just finishing my education in medical school. Yea, there are not a lot of Africans in yoga at the moment; but as the collective yogic pool further implodes, and man moves through evolution and back into implosion; as the jungle physician moves more into the manifest world; the population of African yogis will increase. The petals of a flower are arranged in a certain way, and will open up accordingly.

    Its interesting that because of Yoga, its easy for me to see and experience parkour/free running in a very solo manner. Still a bit nervous to practice with these strong strong strong guys, but come to think of it, I think that it is also cos I tend to feel socially awkward when I first meet people hehe!

    what is also interesting is to compare what parkour would have been like had i not had yoga first. I may have probably hurt something already.

    Ashtanga (life long + seeing practitioners starting and advancing at different ages); helps me go into parkour slowly; without stress. Helps see the possibility of enjoying it over a life time!

    AWESOME YOGA IS AWESOME! 😀

  4. you will learn a lot there and take it wherever you go. and it’s nice to know there is someone else out there who sees that yoga and parkour are very much alike 🙂

    happy practicing, and come practice with use sometime!

    s

  5. 🙂

    In the meantime, enjoying reading your blog. so will probably keep track of em!

    Fist Bump full of Namaste !

    🙂

  6. haha! I just went on your website, turns out I have met one of your future teachers in Mysore before, Olivier.

    And I like how the different teachers describe different things; when they start to sweat, cry, laugh, etc… interesting concepts, emotions, etc.

    interesting.

  7. Lastly, how do i find a link to go to the first blog about your parkour journey? there is no collective page that shows a list I think…
    ?

  8. i’m also interested to find out how ashtanga and parkour are going to mesh for me. the more i add strength with parkour, the more i need the stretching of yoga. the more i meditate in my yoga practice, the more meditative quality i can bring to my parkour training. it’s a fun ride.

    first post evarrrrr….. http://wp.me/p1BmiV-d

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