Dear Ashtanga, you are driving me nuts.

Dear Ashtanga,

I am gonna be honest with you, you drive me freaking nuts.  You have woken me up at the butt-crack of dawn 5-6 days a week, you have made my body hurt, you have made me laugh, you have made me cry, you have pissed me off, you have turned me into a lunar dork, you have made me feel isolated in a crowd, you have made me vulnerable, and you have given me bruises and Ashtangi toe, but most of all you have scared me.  So yeah, I have been MIA for a while.  Like, come on, I am a full time student who works part time, and trying to make time for a social life. And I am the only Ashtangi here so I feel alone all the time. So I haven’t rolled out my mat to meet you everyday…sometimes in a week or two.  Then I feel guilty that I shut off my alarm at 6 am to just go back to sleep, so that makes me mad.  Then I start to feel out of control and insecure without you, so that makes me mad too! I am mad at you because I always think about you. I am mad at you because I am scared to get on my mat because I am scared to see what my time away has done. I am mad because without you, I am sad and angry and not me anymore. So I should just stop wasting time with you, end our relationship right now, never to speak or think of you again.

But….

 

I miss you. I miss you desperately.  I miss our time in the wee hours of the morning. I miss the since of accomplishment.  I miss the confidence you gave me. The strength mentally and physically.  I miss the joy, and the anger and sadness. I miss the never ending lessons you continued to teach me.  I miss you keeping me accountable. I miss your motivation, on and off the mat.  I miss the contentment you helped me cultivate. But most of all, I miss your absolute essence, that one that vibrates in the Shala in Mysore or any shala in the world. That one that woke me up excited, even if it was for a 4:30am time slot.  The one that shook me to my very core, that tore down my walls, to rebuild stronger and more beautiful ones.  The one that connects souls all over the globe. The one that connected me back to myself. I miss you.

So…

 

I will fight. I will fight to reconnect with you. I will fight, to maintain that connection. I will fight to drag my ass out of bed when my alarm goes off. I will fight for the motivation and confidence. I will accept that it is going to be hard. I will accept that it won’t always be joy. I will accept that self-practice is so, so hard and so, so lonely.  But I will have faith in you. I will have faith in the joy, anger, and sadness. I will have faith that this whole thing is worth it and has a purpose. I will have faith that the essence is still there. I will have faith that is never really left. I will fight, I will accept and forgive, I will have faith in you.

You drive me nuts, but life without you just isn’t an option.

Ally

These are my confessions…

Nope..not referring to the Usher song though when I was typing the title it definitely came to mind. It has been quite sometime since I have blogged and it’s not because I have not had enough time (though I am very busy) but its because I have been avoiding it.  Since the regular spring semester ended and summer began my routine changed drastically.  Though I am taking a couple summer classes and working 4 days a week, I have much more free time. I was extremely disciplined throughout the spring semester…waking up between 5-6 am every morning doing my practice, eating well and according to what my body needed, very rarely drinking alcohol, going on daily walks, doing my japa…not only was killing it in my classes, I was being an A+ Ashtangi! Then summer rolled around and I found myself waiting till later to practice, staying up late, going out more than I had been, not eating as well as I should, and eventually skipping practice all together.  To say the least as far as my ashtangi grade goes…I’m failing. I am living down at school in Boone taking summer classes and waitressing, I am loving it, but maybe loving it to much and it is at my practice’ expense.  Since May, my practice has been totally interrupted by my social life…I would go a week sometimes without rolling out my mat. I would be lucky if I practiced more than three times in a week even. Though externally I have been enjoying myself, I feel old patterns and feelings developing internally.  Some being laziness, sadness, anxiousness, anger, lack of self esteem…so I sat myself down today and did some serious soul searching.  I sat down and made a list of reasons why I practice and here they are:

1. Boosts my self-esteem and confidence (not the ego)

2. It allows to to have complete control of my eating habits and previous disorders

3. Awareness

4. Internal peace and contentment

5. Healthy body

6. Healthy Mind

7. Connects to to the right people…including God

8. Brings me immense joy and happiness

9. It gave me the reins to my life again

10. It continues to transform my life

Seeing these things in writing has given me the push to turn things around again and has helped me realize that nothing is worth giving up my practice and nothing is worth more than how my consistent practice makes me feel. So to keep myself in check, here are my confessions:

1. I have practiced three times in the last two weeks.

2. I have been drinking alcohol on a weekly basis

3. I have allowed old eating habits to occur

4. I have been allowing the judgements and habits of others affect and influence me.

So, there is that. But I write this post to say that I am making the effort to reconnect to what I love and that is Ashtanga yoga and how it effects my life.  Sometimes I really believe if I had a shala to go to every morning that maybe I would have gone though this rough patch…but then I also believe I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that there isnt a shala around for a reason.  I believe that I am meant to be practicing in solitude for the time being. So with that belief and faith, I must trudge on. For my overall well being.  So, I will be blogging, at the very least, twice a month because I believe that this thing has really held me accountable in the past. For those of you who continue to read, thank you.

xx

Ally

Like the wind…

It has almost been 8 months since I landed in India and made my way down the the southern city of Mysore.  It is said a lot but it really is crazy how fast time passes…I remember this time last year and how I was working three jobs to save up.  Lately I have been thinking about how much has changed within the last year…even the last 8 months.  This time last year, though I was already planning to take a semester off to go to Mysore, I really had no intention of returning to school anytime soon after my trip.  Frankly, I had NO idea what I even wanted to study or do as a career.  I had also had a rough run at the whole college thing at that point, so I think I was more scared than anything. Even though I had this great trip planned, I still felt disconnected…but just didn’t know what from.

It seems like that last two months I have really questioned my intentions regarding my practice and why I am so disciplined about it.  I have had weeks where the last thing I want to do is get on my mat but I know better now because that is usually a sign indicating that I really NEED to get on my mat. And since my little slump, I have grown to cherish my home practice, to appreciate and respect the isolation.  I have learned to respect the practice and have had nanosecond flashes of the real yoga.  Its not going to a class where Pretty Lights is blasting and the heat cranked up to 150 degrees, its the connection you develop with yourself, the living being around you, and a connection to something greater.  Though every morning I practice alone, I feel this immense connection to something else…maybe all the other Ashtangi’s who are doing the same thing far away, maybe God, or maybe both. I like to think both.  That is how I know that, for me, Ashtanga is the most powerful practice there is.  Even in totally seclusion, I feel the energy of the community and a higher power.  And to me, that is faith. Being able to feel it, without seeing it. It was this connection I was lacking, and I first had to develop a connection with myself, which ultimately is a connection to all beings.  I get overcome with emotion at just the thought of it and for that I know the power the practice has.  Mysore gave me the seed, it was just up to me to plant it and nourish it.  Sharath gave me the tools, but it is up to me to continue to do the work.  I miss India, the Shala, Sharath, and my friends I met there everyday…but my practice allows me to reconnect with all of it every morning.

Since the moment I got on the plane to come home, I was set on coming back again this year but life happens.  I had planned, or more hoped, to get back to Mysore during my university Christmas break, but with me registration rules implemented at the Shala, looks like it’ll just have to wait until after I graduate next year.  I am oddly at peace with it, I thought I would be much more upset. In fact a HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders as I could focus on saving money for my study abroad.  I am studying abroad in Spain for the spring semester starting in January and I think it was a sign that my focus needs to be on school and my home practice.  But, I did promise myself that I will make a point to make time to practice with good teachers until I can be back with my teacher. So obviously I bought a ticket to Toronto in August to visit Vince and Ivana hehe 🙂 So excited to see them and I’ll be able to practice at AYCT for a week!

Like the wind the deeper force of the practice can shake your foundation and tear you down but it can also bring you relief and comfort and push you in the right direction. I am humbled by the power of the practice, grateful for the practice, excited for the possibilities of the practice, and I also know the work is never done. I used to separate life and my practice thinking that they were different entities, but every morning I am more and more convinced that they are one in the same.

xx

A

The practice blues…

It still blows my mind how the mind can be SO powerful…and not always for the good.  It seems like for the last two weeks I have literally had to drag my butt out of bed to get on my mat…or I push back my practice time…or even cut my practice short. I o not know if its because it have been the final two weeks of the semester and I have been crazy busy with school work, but I feel very unsettled about how it has affected my practice.  So, I think I’m definitely in a slump. Simple as that.  When it comes to my asana practice I feel so unmotivated, tired, heavy, lazy, and impatient. Why?? Is this normal?? I have even tried to just sit and understand why I feel like this but I just get annoyed.  Is this just another growth spurt? I have gone through times of anger and frustration…but never the feeling of just not getting on my mat. This freaks me out because I know the consequences of not having a daily practice and how it can be detrimental to my mental, emotional, and physical health.  More, now than ever, I SO wish Boone had a mysore program. I am human, sometimes I need the help of peoples energy around me to keep me going and the assistance of a teacher. Is that wrong?

Don’t get me wrong, I am still practicing daily, but I feel like my dedication is dwindling…all semester I have been up between 4:30 and 6 every morning to practice…so why all of a sudden is it SO much harder? As I write this I realize it all comes down to faith again. Faith in my practice. Remembering how it has and continues to transform my life even if it hasn’t been easy. Faith that it keeps me accountable for my shit, making me deal with it, but never judging me.  Faith in that it has helped me develop a new-found appreciation for my body that I never had before, how I’m the healthiest I have been in years.  Faith. Why do I question the practice now, when It continues to prove its power?

So, I must have faith that this is just another growth spurt, that it won’t last forever.  But I must keep getting up to put the work in because that is all I can do. And to listen to what my body NEEDS instead of what my mind WANTS.

This is short and not-so-sweet but thanks for putting up with my ranting/venting 🙂 xo

Ally

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

 

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

Saturday Tradition

This is the third time I have tried to sit down and blog…but I am having a really tough time. I feel like I have all these emotions swirling around..but I don’t know why and I don’t really know how to feel about it. This is when i know I just need to sit with it and observe. I am thinking that it may be from my castor oil bath I took today…It had been a while so maybe I am just having intense side effects from it. Its an ayurvedic tradition and many Ashtangi’s take oil baths on rest day (saturday) to alleviate any muscle and joint soreness, to release any excess heat in the body, and it can also release pent up emotions. I need to be better about doing it once a week, but it really is a time commitment and you want to make sure you don’t have anything to do that day because it can make you verrrrryyyyy slleeeeeepppppyyyy.

So what is an oil bath? I was introduced to it in Mysore when Sharath would talk about it during conference. Its actually not filling up a big jacuzzi tub with warm water with some oil in it. You can really use any kind of oil like castor, coconut, sesame, ect. But an oil bath is really when you stand in the tub (no water yet) and cover yourself head to toe with the oil, and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so. (You can increase time the more you do it) Then you rinse…which is the “fun” part. I swear by them because they cure dry skin, dandruff, makes your hairy shiny, acne, muscle/joint pain, and really relaxes you. So if you are interested in trying this is my routine that I have adopted from others:

1. You want two old towels…ones you don’t mind throwing away eventually. One to lay down on the ground and one to use after you shower off the oil.

2. Oil: you can really use any….I’ve used coconut and castor and I like both. You want to fill your sink with warm water and set the bottle of oil in it for a few minutes to warm it up. It will make application much easier.

3. Application: the WHOLE body especially the scalp. This is where we contain and release most of our heat so its important to get plenty oil on the scalp. Make your way down the whole body.

4. Sit or lay down on one of the old towels. I like to turn the lights off and sometimes play some soothing music. Sharath says that the first few times you should only leave the oil on for about 10 minutes because your body isn’t used to it, and it can be intense. But you can increase as you do it more, like I said.

5. After ten minutes or so its time to rinse. And this is where it gets tricky as castor oil or any oil can be a pain to rinse off. Here is what I have found most successful to get oil off skin:
– Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castille soap
– Baking Soda
-Loofa or pummus stone
SO I usually combine castille soap and baking soda together on the loofa and just scrub down. It may take two times…you want to leave some oil on for a moisturizer.
FOR HAIR:
-Shampoo OR
-plain bar of soap
To get the oil out of your hair I have used both shampoo and bar of soap. If you are going to use shampoo, scrub hair with it BEFORE you use water…this allows optimum oil absorption. Or you can wet your hair and use a plain bar of soap. Again this may take a couple times.

6. Put some old comfy clothes on and just take it easy and drink some water. You will definitely feel sleepy as the oil pulls out toxins as well as emotions.

7. When washing the oily towels do NOT put them in the dryer because I have heard this could be a fire hazard with the oil on them. Machine wash and hang dry.

So, there you have it…Ally’s guide to an oil bath LOL. But really, they are incredible and have SO many benefits. I think I feel emotional today due to the lack of consistency I have with them. Though I practice 6 days a week, emotions can still get stuck in your muscles and joints that I guess oil can get out. So, all I can do is sit, observe, appreciate, and move on. I will definitely be more consistent with my oil baths and I urge you to try! One time during a conference, Sharath jokingly (and somewhat seriously) said that oils baths are the reason people say “Oh wow, Inidans have the nicest skin!” with his big, sweet grin. 🙂 I believe it! Enjoy 🙂

Ally

This is the brand I use!
This is the brand I use!

TIme for spring cleaning?

Since I have gone and come back from India, I have learned how important it is to respect your own space and to keep it CLEAN, keep the energy light and positive. This means our living space, our bodies, and even our public spaces; like what kind of environments we put ourselves in and the people we surround ourselves with.

Living space: I have learned from living in a tiny apartment at school, that keeping the spaces I use the most is a key part of my daily sadhana (practice). Each day I make time to tidy up the kitchen, living room, bathroom, but most importantly my bedroom.  Since this is the space i use for meditation and asana practice, I have become quite the clean freak. I vacuum every couple days, I always make my bed, keep things off the floor, constantly getting rid of unnecessary clutter, and I burn candles daily and sage smug weekly. I know, it sounds like I have developed OCD but hear me out. Comparing your mind to your bedroom- when your mind is cluttered with unnecessary thoughts, emotions, and feelings it is impossible to feel any peace or to relax. The clutter brings a heaviness and many times stress. Just as your bedroom- you collect random crap, things are all over the floor, your dresser tops are a mess, and it smells. How can you rest in a space so chaotic? You can’t. Like I said, my room is a space where I practice my meditation and asana, which are very personal practices. Why would I want heavy energy looming over my head? I don’t even do homework in my room anymore because I do not want to produce anxious and stressful energy! Seriously. Keep your space clean and light, make time everyday to tidy up. This will start to overlap into your mental space, you’ll feel much more peace, joy, and a since of lightness.

Your body- shower. eat clean. stay active. Our bodies are a vessel for the Devine within. Also, its the only one you’ll have…why wouldn’t you take care of it? (Still working on this myself)

Public spaces- this is what this post was all about really.  Like I mentioned above, your public spaces can be the environments you regularly put yourself in and the relationships you have.  It is just as important to keep these spaces clean, with positive flow just as it is with your personal spaces. My last post was about alcohol and my intolerance to it in many ways. So obviously I won’t be hanging out at bars because that kind of energy does not serve any purpose to me. Another example: malls. Mother fudging malls. My hell. Too much energy exchange and it leaves me feeling depleted and just plain ol’ pissed off. So, I avoid malls at all costs. Everyone has different environments where they flourish or shrivel up, like me…I love old bookstores, markets, and health food shops…like LOVE THEM. These places energize me because I really enjoy myself in these settings. So, be mindful what atmospheres you put yourself into, be aware of how or if your emotions change with your environment…you could solve many issues. Lastly, the relationships your are emotionally involved in need to be kept clean and light.  We tend to forget that sometimes certain relationships need to be tidied up, or if they are not serving your well being, you need to let go. This lesson is one of the hardest, I am learning.  Remember my post about how people can be a lesson, blessing, or both? Well this is where that comes into play. Treasure those who are a blessing or both, but if you hold on to those who have crossed your path to teach you something, they become bad habits, even burdens.  Relationships/friendships can have negative energy, and we must be aware of that.  Notice how your emotions change with the people you surround yourself with. If you have someone where you feel anxious or even angry, then its time re-evaluate. These people, though they may not know or ever know, could drag you back into destructive behavior and bad habits. If that is the case, its time to slowly let go, and this is something I have been feeling lately myself. If you have tried several times to try to tidy up a certain relationship and it still doesn’t feel clean, then it will not serve you. Be mindful who you share YOUR energy with, if they deplete you rather than uplift you, move on. Remember your self-worth, and make your physical AND emotional health your top priority.

So, keep you space clean. Listen to your body, but more importantly your heart because ultimately it knows best. Surround yourself with those who uplift you, support you, and make you feel good. We all deserve that.

xo

Ally

Pick your poison.

“Pick your poison”, I never really put much thought into the phrase, but now that I have it seems kind of ridiculous…more on that later.

Alcohol. Ah yes, the devil’s advocate, alcohol. Isn’t it crazy that a liquid can be the center of a party? Main event during holidays? Can make sweet memories? But can also cause you to make life altering decisions? Control your life? Kill you? Sorry to get serious, but its the truth. **I am by NO means judging anyone who consumes alcohol (as I do..or now did), I am writing this from a very personal perspective!**

To be very honest, I started drinking at a very young age, in fact the first time I got “drunk” was my sophomore year of high school…I was 15.  It was something fun to do on the weekends, it was exhilarating because we were breaking the rules. It was strictly something to let loose with, I had no real attachment to it, besides the fact that I though it was fun. The drinking got more excessive junior and senior year of high school, almost every weekend actually. (If I didn’t have a volleyball tournament of course.) Alcohol is a documented depressant, but it affects every person differently, and it seems for me it truly has a much stronger effect on my well being.  Alcohol started to play a new role when I went away to school my freshman year, but I wasn’t aware of it then. I had lost total control of my mind and body.  My eating disorder consumed my life as well as my depression, and drinking became a way to escape the pain. But in reality, alcohol only intensified it.  I would drink to the point of “blacking out”, maybe I would get sick, almost always sending text messages or saying something that I would regret. I destroyed a lot of relationships, friendship, and most importantly myself. Without realizing it, I had deteriorated completely from a mental and spiritual stand point. Or “rock bottom” as they call it.

Like I have said before, my whole way of thinking began to change when I started my 200 hr teacher training. I began to realize my habits but still working on doing something about it. During teacher training I was basically dry, no alcohol whatsoever.  I can still remember how at peace I felt those last few months of TT, completely confident and in control, and my asana practice was steady. Then I left for the beach that summer to lifeguard…and the drinking started again. Went back to school and continued to drink, then the binging and purging started again, the depression and anxiety came crawling back, and once again I was home. At this point I was fed up, so what to do? Buy a plane ticket to Mysore of course!! But really, thats what happened as my readers know.

I drank throughout the summer leading up to my trip, I turned 21 a month before I left so obvi I drank up until I left. Once I was in India, I stopped. Just wasn’t even a thought in my head and plus its just not something yoga students do over there. Once again, with the help of my Mysore practice, the clarity came back, the peacefulness, the confidence and the control. But this time it was much more intense.

Within a few weeks of my arrival back home I was back at school again, feeling much stronger and WAY more inspired and motivated. I was still practicing 5-6 days a week, took rest on saturdays, did my japa, i was a “good lady”.  I found that I was allowing myself to drink on friday nights, more each time. I didn’t make the connection until very recently but my mind was super agitated during my practice, I once again began judging myself.  I finally over did it about two weeks ago.  I lay miserably on my bed the next morning, self-hating thoughts were zooming around my head. I just felt like shit in all aspects. It was then I realized that alcohol was a serious poison to my system, to my overall being. It clouded my true Self, it damages my soul, and it just is not worth it.

Tim Miller had a really great blog post about Lent, and how people give up these things that generally don’t serve them well for 40 days..but once that 40 day fast is up they resume. Seems backwards, right? Tim mentioned that though he did not practice Lent growing up, he picks something every year that does not serve him to give up for good. So, for my I am giving up alcohol for Lent and for good. It does not serve me, it destroys me. I feel blessed to have the strength to recognize this AND take responsibility.

So, “pick your poison.” Why do I think it’s ridiculous? Well, why would you be messing around with poison anyway? Why would you put yourself in a situation where poison is the only option? Why not just not pick a poison?

I pick kombucha 🙂

To Kino and to whom it may concern:

I am sure I am one of the many Ashtangi’s that has read Kino MacGregor’s lastest blog post, that has surely gone viral in the yoga community.  It was so honest, heart felt, genuine, and honestly extremely brave, and for that I commend her. I normally don’t involve myself in these kind of things, but I felt the need to give my “two cents”.  But before I do, I want to be clear about my stance on the whole thing. I %100 percent support her.  Though I have never met her personally, she has greatly influenced and inspired my practice and myself as a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga.  Many of her instructional youtube videos have helped, clarified, and inspired my practice. Yes, she wears little shorts and teeny tube tops but hey, she looks DAMN good in them. And honestly, if that is your main focus and where your judgment derives… you need a serious drishti and ego check. Just sayin’!

Things I see in her:

  1. Her message of Ashtanga yoga remains very pure and true to the system and philosophy. From sitting in and listening to Sharath’s conferences in Mysore to hearing her input, there really isn’t a difference.
  2. On top of her insanely hectic teaching schedule, she still has a daily practice.
  3. She is one of the few “big named” Ashtanga teachers I know of that still makes the pilgrimage to Mysore to practice, even though her first teacher, Guruji, has passed. AND she respects and see’s Sharath as her teacher now, too. Meaning she still has respect for the lineage.
  4. OH, and Guru’s coconut stand on the corner, that all of us Ashtangi’s like to hang out at daily in Mysore? Yeah, that wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Kino and her husband Tim.
  5. Inspiration for women: she definitely clears up the debate whether or not Ashtanga is a “Mans” practice. She also inspired me to take my first trip to Mysore at my age of 21. Her story resonates deep with me, if you don’t know it, you should check it out.

But yet, people are still blinded by her yellow tube top. How judge a persons character solely on the fact we don’t see eye-to-eye? So because you disagree, she’s automatically a bad person? I think this way of thinking is, I’m sorry, SO wrong and actually backwards. I also here her video clip about Mysore has caused drama in the Ashtangi community. Um…that clip is beautiful!! It is a wonderful depiction of the magic the hovers and flows in Mysore and at KPJAYI.  And to think people got so upset that she did not ask them permission for her to post it?? I would see it as a great honor to be a part of a project that can inspire SO many people to go to Mysore and spread Ashtanga yoga.  Tapas, people!! From what I can tell, Kino comes from such a good place. She makes all her decisions consciously and aware that it might not sit well with others.  Not one Ashtanga teacher is the same because they each experience the practice differently. They all have different views, opinions, goals for their career, ect. This whole thing has really had me asking myself, “Why do I practice?” and by practice I mean the whole sha-bang. Yama, niyama, asana..ect.  I do not write this fueled with any anger or hate, I just think that this is a good time to really check in with ourselves.

So Kino, if you read this, keep doing what you’re doing girl. Your honesty and humbleness inspire me.