Today this blog just came to me. I have been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for over four years now. Apart from a few days, when I would have been sick or travelling, I have never missed a practice. And no, my intention is not to boast here about my discipline. I have taken up a lot of tasks in the past and given them up as easily as well. All I am trying to convey is that no matter who you are, what you do, once this practice touches you it will change you from within. The very DNA of your existence will be mutated and evolved into something beautiful.
I have been guilty of being fairly egocentric. I have been going through my life feeling always a bit out of step and sync. Never necessarily fitting in and never trying to that very hard as well. I am not a compulsive rebel but I don’t mind being the black sheep either. Not that I indulgently do it to enjoy the attention that comes with it but I will not do something just because everyone else is doing it.
Anyways back to the topic, I don’t practice Ashtanga Yoga because nobody else does. In the past few years I have seen more and more people gravitating towards the practice which is beautiful,because the word really can do with more and more Yogis. I am hoping that my experience about the practice will inspire you to take up a class and see what it unfolds for you.
A typical Ashtanga Yoga class has no frills. It has no mudras in binds, no swaying bodies stylishly and surely no music. You can just hear the sound of your breath and a few instructions here and there of your teacher. What I love about it is that there is no talking, no detailed instructions about anatomy or spirituality. Its a sacred unknown space where you step in only to explore yourself. I read about the practice somewhere that its an individual practice in a group setting. There can’t be a better way to explain it.
No one looks at you, they are all too busy watching their gaze and breath. You are not expected to smile or frown or scrunch your face in pain as you proceed further. No one is watching, no one is talking . No one knows you . Its like becoming invisible and that suddenly helps me in dropping all my defences, all my philosophies, all my thought process and helps me accept who I truly am. Good or bad, beautiful or ugly, stiff in the hips or shoulders, stubborn or flexible in all its glory and totality . It helps me blossom. It helps me understand that there really is no particular way to be in.
We are all different- some with long hands, some with short legs, some with stiff backs and some with hyper flexible joints but when all of them attempt an asana, their bodies change and mutate based on their genetic or karmic history; their strengths and weaknesses to execute it. The one with longer arms reaches out easily in a bind. The one with shorter hands twists his spine more to get there. The ones with strong shoulders fly their way in and out of the poses and the ones who couldn’t have fantastic backbends. Some pull on to their hands , some lengthen their lumbar to reach in those forward folds.
There is no right or wrong way. The asana remains the same only you expand your existing self to reach there. So technically we are all black sheep in a way. So so so different from one another sharing the journey towards a common goal. There is no particular way to be….and may be it shouldn’t be . Just limit less possibility.
And that is what has me hooked on – that taste of being infinite – even if its just for a few those fleeting seconds, when that feeling just comes and goes in you never know which asana, is why I practice Ashtanga Yoga and would urge you to take it up too! Even if you cannot stick to a dedicated practice because of other stuff happening in your life. You should take a class and feed it in your database so that the recollection of it can help you find the way back to it when you might need it the most.