I can’t quit you Ashtanga, even when it feels like that’s the only option, and I wish I could.
Schedule conflicts, fatigue, painful bursitis in the shoulders, boredom, breaking up with a teacher…
These are all things that have been getting in the way of practice, yet despite them, I’m still inextricably bound to Ashtanga Yoga. I can’t imagine my life without it, even though it is so full with so much else.
After months of blah, I’m feeling rather infatuated by practice right now. This only started because I actually started going to Mysore every darn day again. There’s something truly profound about that kind of commitment. For me, four days a week just doesn’t cut it. I need that repetition and experience of discipline in order to sink into the rhythm of practice.
The appearance of Ashtanga Yoga in my life’s trajectory marked a major turning point, the essence of which was the movement from being a lost child to a seeking adult.
I started Ashtanga when I started Thaddeus – the summer of 2010. Both loves ignited like wildfire and without a doubt, the two are tied.
These loves have awakened, challenged and provoked me. They have inspired me to go above and beyond, to own up to myself, my dreams, my lies, my hurt, my stories and my hopes for a better future. They have filled me with bursts of energy and expansive, elevating experiences of freedom and pure joy. I’ve been amazed at the changes in my life as a result.
Like a committed love relationship, Ashtanga also brings me face to face with my insecurities and inadequacies at times. It’s frustrating, and agitating. Somedays I hate it and I feel angry as I practice. Somedays it stirs up searing pain deep inside of me that I wish would stay buried because it’s too hard to face.
The practice requires a certain level of cohesiveness and consistency in order to exist and maintain. It only works if you are present and honest with it, otherwise it gets real messy real fast and that can lead to trouble down the line.
Like real love, Ashtanga asks for a few concessions and sacrifices to be made. It’s a give and take process, never static.
Somedays I fantasize about other things, other loves, other activities and lifestyles. I dream about blissful ignorance, dance parties, flings and cigarettes, aimlessness and lazy mornings. I fantasize about a yoga-less life, a life without self-discipline or anyone counting on me to make stuff happen. I dream about a life that doesn’t and can’t exist. My life, pre-Thad and Ashtanga, revolved around this kind of escapism.
Ashtanga can be so many different things, depending on how you approach it and what you put into the practice. It can be deeply meditative, it can be a great workout, it can be a repetitive drag or an exciting experience of dynamism and acrobatic fun. It can be profoundly healing or physically damaging, merely therapeutic or deeply mystical and transformative.
For me, as I reflect on my short but intense journey with Ashtanga, I know there is no turning back. No regressing or forgetting, only changing, modifying and progressing. Onwards and up.
The times when I feel uplifted by my practice carry me through the droughts. The slumps are inevitable, but the real practice is finding, or simply making, forward momentum when your anchor is dragging.
Love, and more precisely marriage as I’m experiencing it, demands fearlessness and courage. It asks you upfront to fully be there, to bare yourself, stand strong, give generously of oneself and refuse to give up on each other.
And just when it feels too unbearable, the most delightful and playful sweetness sweeps you up into a wonderful little dance and you remember what it is like to fall head over heels in love again. With that freshness and lightness of being, you renew your commitment and reach up again…
Love and Blessings,