Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I've been reading a lot lately... a lot.

I've been reading a lot of stuff about ashtanga yoga, the practice, the method, the theory, the injuries, the spirituality, the asana... I've been doing exactly what I think I probably shouldn't be doing and here's why:

All this reading and information, correct and otherwise, is creeping into my practice.  My knee hurts: do I have a torn meniscus?  My butt hurts, am I slowly tearing my quadricep tendon?  I should practice lifting up and jumping back; what did Kino say about that or Laura?  Why am I still just doing primary?  Didn't I read somewhere that it's good to start some intermediate poses after 'mastering' primary?  I've been at this for almost 10 years (0k, on and off); haven't I mastered primary?  Why am I thinking so much?  Get back to the breath?  Is my breath correct?  I'm not concentrating; what did I read about boredom...

You see what I mean?

In "House Recommendations" by Angela Jamison from Ashtanga Ann Arbor (a wonderful, insightful, and informative booklet) she writes:

        Filter: Most Ashtanga information on the Web is made by, and for, distracted minds.

Yep, that's me, a distracted mind.  But also a hungry mind, but hungry for what?  Knowledge?  Inspiration?  Connection?

I think that for me, probably all three.  I look at Ashtanga websites for inspiration and to reach out to a larger community of ashtangis. But why?  All I need do is look to those who practice with me every morning to find inspiration.  And aren't they my community?

They are and yet my busy mind seeks out more information, more images, more, more, more.

It is becoming exhausting and the affects of all this 'knowledge/information/inspiration/community' has started to impact my practice.  And though I'm trying not to judge that impact, my sense is that it hasn't necessarily been a positive thing.

A daily mysore-style practice is a wonderful thing that is at once nurturing and challenging.  I've been at this now for 2 months and it is breaking me down as it is building me up.  I'm beginning to see connections to psychological issues/blocks and certain asanas.  For the first time, the practice has helped me heal or relieve a discomfort.  I think I am calmer, and also so much more aware of my emotions, my body, my energy.  But all these lessons are happening on my mat, at 6am, at the shala, with my patient, gentle teacher, and my fellow practitioners.  Not on the internet.

I realize that I have been heavily binging on Ashtanga theory and need to cut down on my diet.

Because nothing is going to teach me more than what I experience everyday, on my mat...

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