Inhale, Exhale: Journey to Ashtanga Yoga
No yoga is worse, no yoga is better. There is just one yoga and it’s yoga itself. It’s really important to say this at the beginning because you can be easily distracted by the huge amount of styles and be lost in just a few seconds while trying to find the best yoga class for your current life situation. However, it’s really about trying and finding your own and the best style which will be the right fit for you.
Popularity is the new black?
So, why is yoga so popular and why you might have the feeling that everybody is practicing yoga? First of all it’s hype :D. Second of all, it probably helped your neighbour, so you have to try it as well. But seriously, the most common reason to start with yoga is health issues. It can be a physical problem – your back is hurting, or psychological – you are dealing with some demons inside your head. Or maybe it can be something completely different. Like in my case.
I started practicing yoga in 2014 just because I was curious. I practiced power yoga for a very long time (a few times a week), then I tried a 3-month Iyengar yoga training, I finished power yoga teacher training and I also found Ashtanga yoga. The last 3 points happened in 2018.
Every style of yoga had and still has a really good impact on my monkey mind. And it’s really funny because I didn’t know I had that big of a problem with that. Once, I started with practicing power yoga, I found myself thinking about stuff I didn’t know I had there and tried to get rid of it. However, something was still missing. For me it was a daily practice and order which I couldn’t find in power yoga because yeah, it’s a system with some rules but you can change how your practice looks every day.
There is a perfect match in yoga!
I was looking for stillness. I certainly knew my mind was not calm and still, so I needed to do some research before I found Ashtanga yoga. The system where asanas, breaths, vinyasas and others are set and all you have to do is “just” learn it and practice it. In the perfect world, 6 times a week. Or in my case 4-5 times a week.
How does it work?
The magic of Ashtanga yoga is in your own practice which you build through mysore lessons. Once you learn the series (there are 6 of them but you will be learning the first one for a year or more), you’re completely focused on your breath while you’re moving through asanas (yoga positions). It’s called meditation in movement. And it doesn’t matter if the asana doesn’t look perfect. Nothing is perfect and so is your practice! The perfect asana is when you’re actually doing the asana. There is nothing more! The positions can be really challenging, tricky and sometimes scary but you will get used to it. Your own fear is a really big blocker but once you accept it, you will be just ok!
It’s about YOU!
What is really important to me and what I’ve learnt during my 2 years of riding the wave of Ashtanga yoga is the following: Don’t push so hard and don’t be hard on yourself. It can take months or even years of practice. It doesn’t matter if you do this or that. The practice is here for you not you for the practice. And my friend, this is not a competition! Everything comes with practice but if you try too hard you can easily hurt yourself which can stop you from further progress.
99% practice, 1% theory
In my case it was easier, I guess, because I didn’t worry about any progress in my physical practice, I just wanted to find that peace in my mind. And that’s what I find almost every time when I step on my mat and start my practice. Sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes it’s easy. Every day is different because we are different. But the system of Ashtanga yoga is always the same.
The motivation of doing yoga is different for everybody but remember you won’t achieve it without practice. One clever guy once said: “Practice and all is coming” and he was right!