Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ten Reasons I Love This Practice

I was just reading a blog post with the top ten reasons that Ashtanga is hard.  I don't disagree.  It is a challenging practice.  That's part of what makes it worth it.  Here are some other things that make the challenge worth it:

1.  The practice doesn't lie, no matter how much I would like it to.  Would I like to eat a half a pizza drink 3 beers and roll out my mat and have the same practice as I do on a more balanced diet? Absolutely.  Is that going to happen?  No.  Because my practice never lies to me about what how I'm treating my body and living my life.

2.  It's the same thing every day. It's nice to have one constant in a life riddled with surprises.  A difficult week at work, an argument with a loved one, bad traffic, bad mood, through it all, the practice is there, every single day.

3.  It is challenging.  No doubt about it.  Because of that, it's engaging and interesting.  You never quite know what you might get when you step onto the mat (you might guess if you ate that half pizza in #1).  But you do your absolute best.

4. It's oh so quiet.  The Mysore room is one of the quietest calmest places I can think of.  The mind can't help but clear to the peaceful rhythm of multiple breaths filling the space.

5. The community.  Everyone is doing their own practice at their own pace, starting and ending on their own. And yet, there's this tremendous sense of doing something together.  The breath syncs up and the room buzzes with the flow of collective energy.

6.  It's everywhere.  You can find people practicing Ashtanga on pretty much every corner of the earth if you bother to seek them out.

7.  It gives you something to look forward to.  I don't necessarily jump out of bed thrilled to go to work.  But I do get up thrilled to start my practice.  I have never been a "morning person" and don't think that I ever will be.  But my practice literally gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning (rather than at noon as I'd prefer).

8.  A sense of participating in something larger than myself.  The practice is old.  It's everywhere.  It's not mine to mess around with and change because I don't like a certain pose or because I'm bored.  It's bigger than me and I need to surrender to it.

9.  It makes me a better wife, coworker, daughter, and person all around.  The sense of calm and awareness that I achieve through the practice enables me to engage with my loved ones and those around me in a more compassionate way.

10. The practice makes me strong and flexible and gives me a great yoga butt (ok, just kidding on that last one, kind of sort of).  I'm in better physical shape, better health, and better mental shape than I ever was before I started doing Ashtanga. 


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