“Keep your steadiness.”

“The terrain keeps changing, it’s not smooth all the time. So, don’t get disturbed by these things. You keep your practice. Keep your steadiness in whatever terrain comes into your life. Keep on practicing yoga. Never leave practicing yoga. That is how we balance ourselves in whatever difficult times or happy times. So I want you to enjoy that, keep that steadiness until I see you again. May God bless you all with lots of happiness–and sorrow, sometimes…”

~ R. Sharath Jois, ashtanga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ grandson

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‘Do your practice and all is coming.’

I have found a new love.

There.  I said it.

I have finally fallen for Ashtanga yoga.  It took me awhile.  In fact, there was a point where I didn’t think it would really happen for me.  But something changed.

One day, after watching a few online videos to help deepen my backbends, I stumbled upon Ashtanga videos that piqued my interest.  I’ve attended a few Ashtanga classes in the past, but I didn’t really understand this yoga discipline then.  I had difficulty with the varied posture sequences from teacher to teacher, and my very typical Bikram yogi self struggled.  I’m used to structure.  I don’t do well with random postures.  Or spontaneity (that’s only reserved for travelling).

After some more research, I realized it wasn’t as complicated as I had initially thought.  Surya Namaskar A and B.  Primary Series.  Intermediate.  Etc.

Every time.

Six days a week.  First thing in the morning.  No randomness at all.  It was only random because I didn’t go to an actual Ashtanga shala.  Ahhh!

I was drawn by the discipline, the rigour, but also the accessibility of it.  I didn’t HAVE to do all of it?!  I can add one posture when I’m ready?  And I can take longer than 5 breaths if needed?  Yet it’s still all so organized and structured?  Holy cow.  The more I read, the more I was drawn.  Could I possibly do it at home too…?

Well, it just so happened that my mat was home for the day for some cleaning, when I usually leave it at the studio.

Serendipity.

After years of avoiding it, I finally managed a home practice.  Not with my usual Bikram series, but with the Ashtanga Primary Series.  And I haven’t stopped since.  I love how it motivates me to practice at home, even at 2am.  I love how challenging it is but you are never so far removed from experiencing a posture – modified or not.  I love the silence.  I love that it has given me a different sense of ownership of my practice – where I feel like I can practice anywhere, anytime.  As much as I love Bikram yoga (hello, I teach it), it has never excited me enough to do it outside of the studio except once.  Ashtanga is a completely different story.

While I haven’t quite reached a daily morning Ashtanga practice (balancing it with my Bikram practice is a bit tough), I am so eager and curious to keep going.  I feel a loss when I’m unable to practice which makes me even more hungry to get back on my mat.  I look forward to adding a posture each day.   I feel at peace – and I haven’t felt this way about yoga except for Bikram.

Here’s a video of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga master leading the Primary Series.  I’ve seen this video many, many times and it only *clicked* for me this time around.  The universe does have a way of finding us when we’re ready :).

***Please note that the video is not to be substituted for a trained teacher.  I am familiar with some of the poses from the advanced Bikram series to get me through, but I will eventually go to a studio when I can.***