Monthly Archives: April 2013

The struggle is beautiful.

Though I am sitting in the library supposedly starting on my final paper for my Global Women’s Issues class, I feel the pull to blog a bit first. Feminist theory will just have to wait! As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I have become much more of an observer than I was before. Meaning, I do not need to get the last word in or be the life of the party. I have found myself content with observing the things around me and since this new perspective, I have seen things that I would before have never noticed.  But more importantly, I have become much more observant of the things going on withIN me. I am noticing things that I normally would never see or feel. I owe this new perspective to my yoga practice, as it has heightened by since of awareness to the world around me but more importantly the world within in me.

One thing that I have continually noticed is how much my asana practice and life in general are so similar to each other. Six days a week I rise before the sun, roll out my mat, breath, move, do, and feel all with careful awareness.  As I move and bend certain thoughts and emotions come up…happiness, sadness, or even anger.  Rather than reacting, I observe. Why do I feel this way when I bend or stretch this way? What purpose does it serve me? We hold on to emotions and energies in our body…they get caught in our joints, muscles, organs, ect. So we we start to move and activate these parts, they began to surface.  Once they surface, we become aware that we have held on to them. Letting go is the hardest part, but it is much harder to let go when you aren’t even aware they exist! Back in March I remember going through about a three week period of intense anger and frustration when I got to my stomach in second series (shalabhasana, bhekasana, dhanurasana, and parshva dhanurasana). I would just want to quit there and be done for the day, but I would continue till my stopping point. Even though I did not want to, I would ask myself again, why do you feel this way at this moment? Everyday for three weeks right when I got to my belly, I would ask myself this. Then one day I just knew the answer. I had still never let go of my eating disorder. How I physically harmed my body for four years. How I would binge and purge after every meal, and then hate myself for doing it. I was still holding on to it, and it remained hidden in my gut, which makes total sense.  With this realization, I began to think how far I have come and how much I have grown, and how thankful I was (still am!) for the process. And just like that, the anger and frustration left.

Life- I wake up and life starts again.  I breath, move, do, and feel. This was once done with no real mind/body connection, I was just moving through the motions. But now, again thanks for my asana practice, I do life with much more awareness.  When people do or say certain things, or when uncomfortable situations happen, I have began to observe first before I react. I ask myself why did that make me feel that way? What purpose does it serve me? Though, this is still very much a work in progress, but at least I am aware. Do I still react first? Yes. Do I still have moments of anger, frustration, and sadness? Yes. I’m human.

So just like my asana practice, I wake up and do life everyday. Life itself is a practice!! Thats when the real yoga practice starts. Sharath would always say during conference, “Asana practice is 2 hours in the morning, yoga practice in 24 hours.” Life happens, it doesn’t get harder or easier, it doesn’t change. But the way we react to life and how we see life, is what changes our own lives. All things in life are temporary, the bad and the good.  To be an observer, is to be in the moment whether it is sweet or stressful. FEEL it, assess it, and then release it.  When you can fully be immersed in the great moments and learn from the worst moments, life becomes so much sweeter.

Okay, I really should get back to my paper but I felt the need to share to clear my head, as these are the things I constantly think about. If these kind of small epiphanies are happening after only 7 months of a daily ashtanga practice, its a bit overwhelming to think what they will be after 7 years and more. Yoga will change your life, if you allow it too.

All my love,

Ally

 

Advertisements

Recharged

Wowee time has slipped from me again…its been a hot second since my last post! The semester has been winding down, which means stress, deadlines, and finals are on the rise. As I have mentioned before, I do not have a shala or studio here at school, so its just me and my mat in my little room, in my little apartment. I truly love my self asana practice, it has transformed me more than any other asana practice I have tried. But I do go through slumps when my energy and motivation is low and sometimes I feel lonely when I practice! But i trudge on, waking between 4:45 and 6 every morning before class. Over spring break I had a great recharge at Little River Yoga’s morning Mysore program led by Tova and Michael, and it was so amazing being back in a community even though it is still self practice. There is something about the energy in a group setting. But break was over a month ago and I was feeling it was time for another power boost.

Thankfully my teacher, Sharath, and Saraswathi came to the states in early april for a US tour. So for the past two weekends I was able to see and practice with him again. It was the first time I had seen Sharath since Mysore, four months ago (CRAZY), and it was pretty incredible. I traveled north April 5th to catch in at UVA in Charlottesville, VA for a short practice and lecture, the whole thing was rushed BUT it was still so good just to see him and the family. I actually got teary eyed when he walked in LOL. The following weekend, a couple good yogini friends and I traveled even further north to catch the infamous led primary class in Chinatown, NYC. The class was filled with classic Sharath funnies like in Utthita Hasta Padagushtasana, “No dancing!” or in the fifth and final navasana as he comes to the final fifth count and tricks people by doing “ffffffff…hey no hurry! ffffff…..iiiive” and of course in utpluthih “lift up…don’t come down!” It’s funny how much I missed these very small things but when at the shala I found them irritating after the first TEN times. 🙂 Not only was I able to do a full practice with my teacher, I was able to connect with many friends I met in Mysore and others I have connected with via social media. The Ashtanga community is so small, but SO incredible. I was on a total yoga high. Being back in my true niche and to be in Sharath’s presence again is exactly what I needed to keep me going fo rthe next 8 months till I am back at the shala in December. This past weekend reminded me again, why I practice and love this system. It has connected me with the most incredible people on this globe, it has given me a community/family that I truly feel a part of, and it has given me my life back. This system has completely changed my life and transformed me, the community has been a huge part in it. Especially Sharath. Something about his presence makes it so easy to surrender to the practice, which ultimately leads you to surrender to your true Self, to what is real. Since I began to be a student of his and this system I think I’ve become a better friend, daughter, family member, and most of all I can finally say I truly love who I am. But it is always a work in progress. All I can do is wake up and put the work in on and off my mat. Sharath ended his time with us in NYC by reminding us that, “Our asana (postures) practice is only two hours of our day, but our yoga practice should be 24 hours.” Keep practicing my friends! xo

Ally

Pics from the weekend:

would LOVE to live here one day!
would LOVE to live here one day!
spring in the city park!
spring in the city park!

photo 3-6 photo 4-5 photo 5