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.
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.
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.***