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My yoga teacher gives a talk – conference – each Sunday. Her theme this year is using our yoga practice to develop our minds. In line with that, she’s been asking us to examine why we do yoga, what we hope to gain from it – and why we’ve picked ashtanga specifically.

She also commented on how a new student, after a few classes, responded to her instructions about articulating each vinyasa, moving intentionally and efficiently into each pose, with  “I wish you would have told me that from the beginning!”

Her response: that’s not the method. In ashtanga yoga, you just jump in the pool and start paddling.

And I think that’s exactly why I like ashtanga. We all wish we were handed a rule book, a guide for success, right at the beginning, and that if we just follow instructions, unlimited success would follow. Rules make life safer, right? Ha.

I’m not feeling poetic about how yoga is a metaphor for life. Ashtanga yoga is just another vantage point from which to look at life. It isn’t a metaphor. It just is.

It is very challenging.

The more you practice, the easier it gets – until you come up against something new and find yourself at the beginning, questioning everything you thought you’ve learned.

There are people who will support you and help you along the way, but you have to do it all yourself.

There is always more to learn.

What you can accomplish is limited more by your patience and determination than your physical body. But you had better be kind to that physical body of yours.

You have to do it because you want to do it … any other reason will just burn you out.

You are never, ever done. You get to rest for a few minutes at the end of a session, but the next day it you’re right back at it.

No one said it would be easy, but it also doesn’t have to be that hard.

It – yoga, life. Same same. Pretty much goes without saying, but I guess it helps to say it to myself. Explore the connections. I know that’s what my teacher is up to – she was (is) a psychologist, after all.

I’m working primarily on my backbending lately. It is hard work. I’m (mostly) past the paralyzing panic, and can feel that I’m getting stronger and more open. So the hard part now is allowing that openness.

It is hard work being soft.


Fortunately, some beings have less of a problem being soft.

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