Ashtanga yoga– Some of us are addicted to it (me, for sure!), some of us are intimidated by the intensity, time, and dedication required, some of us think it’s a cult. Whichever category you belong to, it’s ok! But, I must say through all my practices, asanas are definitely not easy; all the folding, legs behind the head or poses where you can’t even see your body. The most beautiful yet powerful discovery is how one can breathe through the myriad of emotions that rush to your head – fear, anger, frustration, joy, old memories, trauma, random scenes from 20 years back, future plans, and more.
The ability to focus on your breath, doing asanas, and simultaneously shooting down every thought is the most painful thing in this practice. Sometimes, you just want to sit down on your mat and cry or zone out or just feel like you have been attacked by this sudden tsunami of fear (Nadhi shodhana series). But, when you take a deep inhale pull yourself up and jump through each asana with immense control, strength, and elegance. There is nothing more beautiful, intimate, and wonderful. There is a storm in you which is churning your soul, your blood, your breath, and when someone looks at your practice, all they can see is a person doing yoga in peace.
Now, why would anyone do this? It sounds really sadistic and tedious. To me, it’s related to life. When things go wrong , you can throw every tantrum you want, cry, scream, laugh, but at the end of each day, you realize all you have in control is you, your breath, and you just have to move on. You just have to take a deep inhale, pick yourself up and go through every day, facing every obstacle and once your done overcoming one obstacle, life awaits you with more. At that point, remind yourself that just like how you dreaded Kapotasana 10 years back and now you have mastered it, the obstacle you face now will soon look smaller and less intimidating as time goes by. All you have in control is your breath, your strength, and belief that this too shall pass by.
There is no gain, without pain. For all of you who are practicing it every day, my respect. For all of you who are intimidated, my advice is dive in and you will never be able to dive out. And for all those of you who are lazy, my condolences for your loss.
Your body is a wonderland. Don’t go without discovering it.