Ashtanga

Yoga for All.

“It is virtuous not to be integrated and centered, but to be flexible, embracing, tolerant, patient, and complicated.”

– James Hillman

Mary said, “I like that there’s no bandwagon to jump on in this group.” I asked her what she meant. She said, “You don’t have to subscribe to a certain diet, wear specific clothes or conform to any one way of ‘being a yogi.’”

It’s true. There aren’t too many should(s) or musts other than overall cleanliness of mat & body and showing up as often as you can. But in terms of how you arrive, the mood you’re in or your approach practice—that is entirely up to you. Your grimacing practice face or sweat does not offend me in the least. When I made the Ashtanga Nation signs I added, “Yoga for All” as a reminder that however you show up is good enough.

Your appearance or ability is meaningless. Embracing yourself and showing compassion toward your mat neighbors is what directs the energy inside of you and of the room. Dedicating time through physical practice to try and see who you really are is plenty.  

I’m sure glad to have had this modeled for me in Michael Joel Hall’s room and with Stair Calhoun. If not for their general outlook on practice, this rule follower could have easily turned into a drill sergeant (and perhaps for a little while I was…)

Our diverse room shows commonality with its commitment to change. Patience for the changes of body and mind. Learning to witness thought patterns and poses come and go.

Stay complicated and kind :)

 

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Returning from Mysore (India)

Where to begin?
 
Two months in Mysore complete. Fond memories imprinted and fresh ideas ready to be implemented. This experience is always about more than the practice.
 
It’s...
 
Eliminating all expectations. Get your order wrong. Bathe in a bucket. Cake dirt on your cracked heels. Live with one spoon. How much do you really need to be happy?
 
Building patience. Curled in a ball for two hours outside the shala. Wait for food & friends to arrive. Learn that five minutes means an hour. This builds resistance to needing things immediately. Waiting turns into reflection time and the realization of how little I spend alone.
 
Making family out of colleagues. All taboo topics are on the breakfast table. Folks who can handle discord and offer insight. Compare notes and swap ideas. What makes a good teacher anyway? Friends who create community in a career that is often lonely. Laugh so hard together we can barely breathe. Cry hard when we leave.
 
Zipping around on the scooter. No four way stops are there, just four way goes. Keep moving even if it’s unclear. Weave with everyone in the chaos. We will all end up somewhere.
 
Practicing in a focused cauldron. Sweat and breath. No technique required. I am enough but do I believe it? Do I need more than I already have? What do I have to prove and whom am I trying to impress?
 
Flexing the brain. Creativity spurts and anatomy courses. Study for me and my students. Books of every variety. Motivation to better myself.
 
Being in the presence of your teacher. Thrive on intense practice in the hands of an expert. Question and reflect on the subtle energetic offerings. Learn to embody his compassion, presence & dedication. 
 
All of these pieces comprise an alternate life. It would be easy to keep it separate but I want bring the best pieces back with me for you.
 
My teachers.
 
I am grateful to Sharathji for offering me his blessing this trip. With or without this paperwork, I am beyond grateful to be teaching and part of this lineage. He and his space have rejuvenated me. I anxiously look forward to the next trip with him.
 
What to say to Michael Joel Hall? Grateful doesn’t quite capture the sentiment. Feeling “blessed” falls short. I wouldn’t be teaching this way if not for his passion and commitment to excellence. He has always given himself abundantly and supported me as student and teacher. I am so proud to be linked to him in this lineage.
 
I am thankful for getting to practice under David Garrigues. He inspires me with his wealth of knowledge and the endless energy with which he delivers the teachings. I am looking forward to seeing him in a couple months at our shala.
 
Thank you, Mary, Allison, Jonathan & Ning for holding the space for the students and for making it possible for me to have this opportunity.
 
I have thought of you often and look forward to seeing you. I plan to practice with full jet lag on Saturday. I have a small something for you and will bring it then! The schedule will remain the same as it has been these last two months. My first official class will be Monday morning!

I look forward to getting back into the swing, practicing and learning with you.

xoxo,
Maggie

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