Monday, July 20, 2015

I've been inspired to blog...possibly an impulse I should ignore, but hey, I rarely ignore my impulses so here goes...

I'm back on my mat, after being off my mat for a long time.  I'm not sure if taking long breaks from yoga, particularly Ashtanga yoga, is the norm, but for me, it has been a relatively common occurrence in my 10 years of practice.  The reasons, the causes?  A myriad of things...

However, about a three months ago, I decided to return to the practice and what an experience it has been.

Let's start with the reason of my most recent hiatus: injury, injury, and more injury...and some family stuff, work, and health I said, a myriad.  About 2-3 years ago, I lost my faith, desire, and interest in the practice because for the first time in my life my I had bilateral shoulder injuries.  I'll not bore anyone with the the details, except to say that the injuries did not occur in a traditional Ashtanga class, but rather in a yoga-ish/cross-fit like/kettle bell class. That class ended my ability to perform any asana that remotely involved my upper body. Two shoulder injections, numerous visits to physical therapy (love PT!), and time...lots of time...I slowly healed and returned to doing chaturanga, upward dog, downward know the drill, but remained hesitant to go back to any kind of yoga class.

I had other excuses too, I work.  Specifically day shift in a residential hospice, which means I have to get up early.  And my job is very physical, which means I'm exhausted at the end of the day and usually too fatigued to go to a yoga class.  I like to go for long walks, hike, the occasional bike ride.  I wanted variety, I wanted cardio...I wanted...

Excuses, excuses...however, I always got back on my mat after said walk, hike, run, cycle, to stretch, strengthen and cool down AND I always reverted back to doing parts of the primary series...ALWAYS.  It was like it was ingrained in me somewhere, to breath, to lock, to gaze and to flow.

I began to listen to what my body was trying to tell me; I returned to ashtanga, on my own, at home, in my living room...gently and joyfully.

It was marvelous and I believe that my times on my mat, alone, in my home have been some of the most educational.  But I began to feel both the want and need of a teacher and a community.

So I started searching for a new teacher, new shala, a new community.  It was also time for me I to commit to a mysore-style practice.  With my home practice, I had learned to trust my own count/breath but I want guidance, adjustments.  So instead of waking up every morning and immediately eating, while I read the paper, watch TV, drink coffee, and struggle with the crossword, I will shower, drink some water and tea, drive to the shala and practice.

That is what I'm doing now... for almost 3 weeks.  Early days, but all is returning, the asanas, the breath, the sweat, the connection...oh yeah, and the pain...but that is ok, so ok.

Peace and breath...


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