It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.
I can just see my Ashtangi friends smiling broading from ear to ear when they read this. Most likely thinking ‘I told her so!’
But it’s true. It’s time to confess.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and I, well, we are lovers.
AVY followed me around for a couple of years, nagging at me, trying to woo me, entice me into a little affair. But I was too loyal to my beloved Iyengar. So much so that I actually feel dirty writing this post. But, I do believe its time to put it out there, tell it like it is and hope for the best.
So after much nagging (and encouragement from earlier mentioned friends) I embarked on a relationship with AVY. You can read all about that here.
I won’t lie – the first month at Yoga Moves (you can see Pattabhi Jois above wearing a YogaMoves tshirt. His student, Eileen Hall, is my teacher) and on my the mat I spent fighting the voices in my head. I sound crazy, right? Sometimes it felt that way.
And then swinging to moments of pure elation and joy… there aren’t voices to transcript here, because when there was bliss and joy, there was peace, quite… no thoughts except a soft, lulling sensation.
But, I am dedicated. As it says on the Yoga Moves website, ‘Transformation through Dedication’. And I really beleive that. So I am dedicated to everything I embark on. If not forever, for long enough to feel confident that I tried, really, really hard.
And so it was. I persisted and somewhere in that persistence (read: 5:30am starts in the middle of winter, driving in the pitch black with eyes still puffy, entering the warm and cosy cave-like Shala and well, moving) without realising it, the voices become much quieter… almost non-existent and the joy started to wash over me.
Now, I see the beauty of the practice. I’m still so new to it and moving slowly through the primary series, but with each new pose I receive I am faced with a whole new set of challenges, including asanas I never really knew about.
This week Eileen, my teacher, gave me two new poses. Garba Pindasana and Kukkutasana.
The first one I can get into… although let me tell you, I need alot of humour and calm breathing to do it. It involves a spray bottle for lubrication, trust that my arms can actually fit through the non-existant space between my lotus and alot of core work.
The second pose is where the humour really kicks in. Imagine holding this pose and then rocking back and forth, 9 times, in a clockwise position only to reach the finale – Kukktasana – where you live your own body weight off the floor. Let’s just say this is still definitely a work in progress.
The final few poses that really get the heart pumping and push me to my boundaries are these poses (in order)
Other people at the shala make it look so easy… but I’m only 3 months into Mysore practice so I’m trying not to place pressure or judgements on myself.
Either way, even when I fall flat on my face, struggle to get the pose, or when I nail it, I feel the same thing – elation. Just trying leaves me with this buzzy feeling… and I love it.
What I love even moreso is savasana – because AVY is such a dynamic practice I give my little airy, vata body a loooooong relaxtion to properly settle my nervous system. I never used to do this with other yoga methods. Now I take rest, properly. I loll about, languidly in my mind, letting everything settle – the breath, the body, the mind. It’s just like that long, delicious sigh that you let out as you hit your pillow at night.
Now, I haven’t totally ended my relationship with Iyengar, that’s probably considered a little disrespectful to some – such as those purists out there. But I still have a deep affinity for the practice and find it benefits my own teaching ability more than any other style can. Plus, i’m not a purist. Never have been. I’m a melting pot in everyway – I like to throw everything in the mix and see what comes out at the end.
For me… what I’ve learnt the most since starting this practice, besides a set of challenging postures, is that not all things are love at first sight. Sometimes, we just need to peel away the layers, look beneath, scratch the surface – see what’s below and we may just like (or love!) what we find.
This is definitely something I’ll carry off the mat. How can I not? It makes sense when you think about all the different people and experiences in our life that we are so quick to judge, only to find out that, hey, its not so bad. In fact. I really, really like it.
Signing off with an exhale.
Pause. Listen. Live
*Pictures kindly borrowed from http://www.clasesdeyoga.info/