18 September 2008

A Physical Practice

In need of a honest-to-goodness led Ashtanga class, I went to my friend Lindsay's (www.annarboryogi.blogspot.com) Ashtanga class after work yesterday. I had talked to her earlier in the day about how it is hard to find many classes in Ann Arbor that aren't, well, as I put it "namby-pamby". Lindsay and I came to yoga at the primarily same time, at the same place and did the same teacher training - because of this we share a similar yoga lineage so to speak. Our teachers were excellent, our training was authentic, challenging, and still what seems to us "real". Real meaning, it didn't coddle us and there wasn't a lot of room to slack. At times it was difficult and downright hard. But I still feel that when I first began doing yoga at Yoga Shala, I was getting my own little piece of Pattabhi Jois! Anyway, since those days are over I have yet to find a class, studio, or teacher I can really follow. Where is the teacher! I am told when I am ready the teacher will appear! I think the teacher came and went, I followed that teacher for a time and now I have to wonder, do I get another teacher?

But last night, in Lind's class I got a little bit of that "real" feeling back. She set out to lead what she said was "a very physical practice". And of course it wasn't like a power yoga class, devoid of any talk outside of the physical realm, it was very physically centered. At times it felt strict even, which was SUPER! Love it!
She slaps her hands together to initiate the between pose vinyasas which really prompts you and brings you "up" and present and willing to move into the vinyasa and not slack. She also threw in some Second Series poses which just infused the practice with fun and mental interest.

So, for now, I think I will attend that class regularly, even though it means driving to work that day instead of taking the bus. I figure if I can't take classes from my old teachers I can take classes from a dear friend who was also taught by my teachers. Namaste Linds!

12 September 2008

Nothing is hard and fast.

It's ironic. My last post, a million years ago, was how I could not stop doing yoga, once I started a practice.

And then, I stopped! Ha! And then, stopped blogging because since I stopped practicing regularly I couldn't really talk about THAT. Well I could, but I felt sort of ashamed. But nonetheless, I am BACK!

When I say that I stopped practicing, I really mean I stopped my daily practice. I still did yoga, but it was much more infrequent. Summer took hold of me, new obsessions (estate sales & overall house projects) laid claim to my time. I knew, however, that that was impermanent.

Ahhhhh, impermanence. There isn't a concept that gets me through life more than the idea of impermanence. As days went by without a practice I somehow knew in the back of my mind that I would eventually float back, and I did. I let go of the attachment I had to the idea that I HAD to practice and just let myself do whatever it was I felt to do. And without that judgement of myself I avoided suffering. When I did practice I allowed myself that same "kindness", I just did what felt right then, whatever poses I moved into were fine by me. And gradually, I moved into my practice of yore! My daily NEED to practice returned! My tendancy to start a practice and not want it to end, holing up in my yoga space for longer than I had intended returned. I am SO grateful that my practice is always there for me, whether I leave it for a day or a month, or more. It's always available to me. I just have to remember that it's not about progress, it's not about the poses and what I can accomplish. It's about that sweet sweet feeling AFTER any practice.

Spring is the season of renewal, but I have always felt autumn was moreso - at least for me!