Stepping Into the Fire

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

So, I've finally decided to do it. Something I've been wanting to do for more than a year, but was too lazy and afraid to do. I'm committing to a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice, starting today.

I've practiced yoga for 7 years, and taught yoga for the past 3.5 years. Due to a busy schedule, my personal pracice consisted of one to two days a week usually. And, due to a general avoidance of anything involving early mornings, and frankly a fear that I wasn't good enough, I never attempted a Mysore class. Well, all of that is going to change.

What pushed me over the edge? Well, a big part of it was moving. In Portland, where I'd lived for 7 years, began my yoga studies and took my teacher training, I grew comfortable. I had my teachers that I loved, a wealth of studios nearby and classes in my preferred style of yoga, and yoga friends to take classes with or just chat about practice.

When we moved back to Denver in November, all of that was gone. I was on my own. I struggled to find any studios offering Ashtanga yoga in Denver, struggled to find classes to fit my preferred schedule, struggled to find the motivation to go to class when I didn't know anyone or the teacher. I longed for my old Monday night Primary Series class in Portland, my favorite teachers, my friends. So I logged on to my Portland teacher's blog, reading wistfully about the classes I so missed. But then I read some other entries - about his home practice with his wife and little child, about his travels to practice with friends on rainy rooftops in India and teachers on the beaches of Goa, about how through a decade-long daily practice he found a strong body, open mind, and a community. A ha! THIS is what I wanted.

I realized that it doesn't matter if your friends or favorite teacher are in class, or even if there is a class at all. Just DO the practice. Every day. No matter what. That, in itself, is enough. As Guruji said, "Practice, all is coming." So I will.

By sweating my way through the Primary Series every day, by using the asanas and bandhas and ujjayi breath to build that fire - the tapas, I hope to burn away those things that do not matter, that do not serve me anymore. Through the practice of dedication, concentration and committment, I hope to quiet my mind, to drop beneath those choppy surface waves and down into the deep still waters, to find the calm center in the eye of the storm that is life. And with enough time, and patience, and PRACTICE, I hope to be able to live my life from that calm center - to find and reside in the jewel in the heart of the lotus, where we are one, the universe and all of us.

So, the plan:
3 days of Mysore classes at a studio downtown (Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6:30 to 8:30 AM, Sundays from 3:30 to 5:30 PM)
4 days of home practice
Meditation and mantra daily, with japa mala (made of lotus seeds)

Practice, all is coming...Practice, all is coming...Practice, all is coming...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This really resonated with me! After I became a yoga teacher, which was a huge dream for me for many years, I also finally got a full-time job after relocating & suddenly I couldn't make it to any of my usual yoga classes. My own practice fell by the wayside a bit & I have been trying to cultivate a home practice when I can't make it to class. It's a work in progress for sure. Thank you for the inspiration!
    2573 days ago
    so inspiring! thanks so much for sharing : )
    2963 days ago
    Thanks for the reminder that practice can happen anytime, anywhere.

    3054 days ago
    I see so much of my own journey in yours. I find myself feeling insignificant and inexperienced when I venture into vinyasa classes. I like Ashtanga; it soothes my soul and makes me stronger inside and out. Too many crazy poses and too much stunt work (arm balances and inversions just because, trying to overwork and exhaust students too quickly) leaves me feeling very un-yogic. I'm sticking with what I know, but pulling out more pieces of the primary series to fine tune. Five breaths once during a class is not enough time for me in some poses.

    I, too, have re-committed to at-home and more frequent Ashtanga practices. I'm also taking that BIG step and branching out my yoga business. My mantra for the year: Lead with your heart; the rest of you will follow.
    3055 days ago
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