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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ashtanga

I went to Ashtanga today. Ashtanga is a yoga practice of synchronizing breath with movement through a progressive series of poses that remains consistent. Go to any Primary Series Ashtanga class and it will look pretty much the same. I remembered that I love it.  It was humbling. Being on my yoga mat is always humbling these days. I was a yoga teacher, or, I am a yoga teacher who doesn't currently teach. I don't know. What I do know is that I had a yoga practice, I let it go, and I need to have one again.
For me, movement is a necessary part of the yoga. I require movement to quite my mind. It's just how I am. I have two speeds: top and off. An asana (moving through postures with breath) practice  helps me find the on-but-not-million-miles-an-hour that often works better for just about everything.  
I remember how it felt- what it felt like in my mind and to be in my body when I was dedicated to practicing yoga most days of the week.  I'm ready to reclaim that. I thought I was before. For months I have thought I was ready. I clearly, obviously, was not. 
What makes it so clear and obvious? The fact that months later I do not have a regular practice or it's benefits. Plain and simple: I have not wanted it badly enough. Now I think I do. It won't just appear, though, because I want it. I won't all of the sudden find myself with no objections or excuses to keep me off my mat. 
At the root, what keeps me off my mat is ego. I let my practice slip away. I focused on other things. Some of them were in and of themselves an expression of yoga. Now, I go to a class or get on my mat, and I remember how I used to move. What my body used to feel like. I become impatient with myself. I feel ashamed that I am a yoga teacher with so little connection with my body. That's ego and it's getting in my way. Coming to my mat, embracing where I am,  celebrating advancements, and honoring myself and finding joy in the setbacks- that's the practice I am ready and needing to commit to.  Evidence suggests that putting it on my mental to-do list and continuously allowing it to fall to the bottom isn't working out all that well. In truth, that's not a tactic I'd recommend for anything. 
 

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