My Week In Ashtanga Yoga (12.25.17-12.31.17)

I’ve been practicing Ashtanga Yoga daily (6 days/week) for about 8 months now. At first, what drove my asana practice was the progress I was seeing on my mat. Committing myself to practicing the primary series taught me stamina and perseverance, encouraged my hips to open, and reinforced the need to practice deep backbending with integrity so as to protect the spine. Off the mat, Ashtanga Yoga honestly gave me the courage I needed to make some necessary changes in my life.  It felt like this was all happening very quickly and I was usually in a “honeymoon” state of mind with whatever was my latest pose. Now that I’ve begun practicing the first half of the second series, progress is a lot slower. These rigorous asanas are bringing more intense emotions and behavioral patterns to my attention. Not only is the physical work harder, the mental work is, too.  So.. I felt the need to share; welcome to my blog where I’ll be sharing my weekly crazy Ashtanga stories.

This week I returned back to Toledo, OH after traveling to Austin, TX and Athens, OH for the holidays. I was so grateful to be back practicing in my home studio (shala) with my amazing teacher and fellow Ashtangis. We have a pretty enlightened crew of mothers, teachers, fathers, authors, artists, therapists.. so many beautiful souls fill our studio each morning at 5:30am. I was blessed to be able to visit some Ashtanga shalas in Austin and enjoyed learning from highly intelligent and experienced Ashtanga Yoga teachers there. But nothing compares to the energy of practicing with my friends at Ashtanga Yoga Toledo (even though its negative 2 degrees here).

Wait hold up…. it’s NEGATIVE 2 degrees and snowing outside and we crazy Ashtangis are waking up at 4:45am and scraping ice off our windshields to be at the Shala by 5:20am?? Yep. You read that right. It’s cold as f*ck, but we are committed and disciplined Ashtanga Yoga students and there really are no excuses. We take one rest day per week and practice the other six, usually before the sun comes up. We do take a day’s rest when the moon is New or Full due to a heightened sense of energy on those days and a higher likelihood of injury (I can attest to hurting myself when I practiced on a New Moon). Additionally, some women take rest on the first day of menstruation (AKA Woman’s Holiday) but I usually chose to practice anyways.

So… it’s friggin cold, and I’m friggin stuck on Eka Pada Sirsasana, which is putting one leg behind your head in a seated forward fold (pictured below). It’s suuuperrrrr fun and my hips basically feel like they’ve been turned inside-out on the daily.  Also, I’ve been struggling a lot with the emotions that come with feeling like I’m not making progress. But to end the week and the year, some AYT friends and I drove to Ashtanga Yoga Columbus to visit my teacher’s teacher, Taylor Hunt.

Practicing at Ashtanga Yoga Columbus was the perfect way to end a difficult week, and year. The energy in Taylor’s Shala is unbeatable and I am constantly humbled by practicing with him. Today, he told me that my Eka Pada Sirsasana “wasn’t that bad,” which is a pretty nice compliment coming from him! He takes this practice very seriously. Although today was technically my deadline for the pose and I didn’t make it, I am still proud of the progress I’ve made with it over the last month. Here’s to 2018 goals!

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check back next Sunday for an update! 🙂

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