Why ashtanga yoga kicks ass

It hasn’t even been a year since I started practicing, and I do skip practice from time to time, but I can tell you why I wrote this – because ever since I had a crush on ashtanga yoga, I have been in love with it, and when you really love something, you want others to feel it too. Hope this inspires you to try at least once. 

In July 2015 I got certified as a meditation instructor by Peace Revolution, and after it I had to pass a two week crew training, which was basically a meditation retreat and I finally had time for myself! So we meditated so much before and during the retreat, that I found a lot of energy inside me, and that is when I became very active. I started studying Thai again, I continued writing my book (which has recently won a nomination in a literary contest!) and decided I needed more from yoga than just 20 min workouts.

So I downloaded an ashtanga yoga practice from youtube (primary series as practiced in KPJAYI), guided by a cute Japanese chick (I still recommend to try it with a teacher though) and did the whole primary series in two hours listening to her explanations. Did it with a lot of variations, as it was the time when I could not even sit in a lotus position yet. But I was really eager to sit in it. And that is how I hurt my knee for the first time.

I just wanted to share my first impression of ashtanga yoga – it was like an explosion inside me – what what?

  1. Full on concentration. I was so concentrated trying to get all these postures, I am not even that concentrated in my sitting meditation when I am not moving and giving my full attention to concentrating properly.
  2. Getting control over your ego. Everyone has an ego and when we listen to our ego too much, we do not hear ourselves. Go for that lotus posture, nail it, I need you to do it! – says the ego. There is time for everything, and lotus is still coming, take it easy – should be your answer, but sometimes you get influenced by the ego, and get hurt. The point of ashtanga is not to get you hurt, but help you feel this thin line and be able to balance on it – to always be disciplined, but patient and caring with yourself, to develop true self love and avoid the trap of the ego. The more you practice, the more you realize it is not about the body at all, but the body is your main tool in operating your whole system on the journey of self-discovery.
  3. Flat tummy side effects. I have become so fit that I’m feeling good now all the time. I have always wanted a flat tummy and it never seemed flat enough to me. And yes, it could be flatter even now, but I admit I like the way it looks these days. With ashtanga getting fit is a side effect, but an amazing one.
  4. The system that works – an ashtanga yoga workout is designed to help your body open up step by step, gently and slowly, hold your posture for five breaths and then move on to the next one. And it always amazes me how wisely the postures are sequenced, to give you enough inspiration to move on, and to unlock your muscles and joints like a magic key, helping you open up and become stronger with each practice.
  5. Discipline – this word scares many of us, but ashtanga teaches us to love it. It’s like, when you travel, move around, or think all the time, you need to find that one non-negotiable thing you do every day. It may be reading for 15 min every morning, it may be having a coffee on your own to start off the day, or it may be an awesome energizing ashtanga yoga work out that will make sure your day goes in the right direction. And if your non-negotiable things is ashtanga, you fall in love with the discipline (which I’m on the way to =))
  6. Power – understanding you can do whatever you set your mind to. Once you start getting the postures you have never even considered in your gym yoga class, that’s when you know you can pretty much do whatever in life – fall in love, build a house, buy a helicopter. Just find it and follow it, with all your heart, just like ashtangis follow their yoga practice!

 

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