Guruji with his guru, Krishnamacharya, behind him

Everyday when I walk into the Sun studio and even throughout my practice, I search for Guruji’s picture and I pause to reflect on him. I did not have the honor of meeting him and studying with him. However, I feel that he is my guru, too. Words cannot express how grateful I am for Ashtanga yoga. Seeing the impossible transform into something possible has been one of the most awe inspiring experiences of my life. Things that I never thought that I’d be able to do, little by little, I have learned how to do … and to think: I’m not done yet.

When I first come into the shala and I see his picture, I am reminded that all else can be left at the door and that this moment is one of self-reflection and connection to God. During my practice, when I feel that I am not executing the asana the way that it should be executed or that my body is not cooperating with me, I seek out his picture because it reminds me of the truth of this practice. I then focus on the most important part of it all: my breath. I may not be that flexible. I may not have a practice that is on Kino’s level. But, by golly, I strive to be the best “breather” I can be! 🙂

Today’s practice was amazing. That’s what I love about yoga. One day you’re on top of the mountain and the next day you’re eating a big slice of humble pie. You learn that life is ups and downs and the only “constant” (for lack of a better word) is you. Today I was unable to bind Ardha Baddha Padma Uttanasana and all of my balancing poses were super shaky, but that’s okay.

Perhaps tomorrow they will be better, but today I accepted where I was and I chose not to treat myself violently. I had compassion. That was more awesome than executing the asana itself.

During child’s pose after Sirasana A & B (I attempted B for the first time today), I always pray. I thank God for the moment, for allowing me the opportunity to connect with him, and for the practice.

Today I dedicated my practice to Eddie because today is his 28th birthday. He is in prison. I think part of my motivation and drive in my life comes from the fact that I want to somehow show him all of the beautiful possibilities that life has to offer … that somehow my achievements are his, so I strive to push forward because I feel that my success is his. I also prayed for my students and I asked God to use me to bless them, that somehow I will positively impact their lives and that the world will be a better place because of my work with them. Sounds naïve, I know, but if we all carried this intention in our hearts, how different would the world be today?

After class, I spoke with the instructor about Kurmasana because I have never officially been taught how to do it and I’m afraid of

Kurmasana

hurting myself because of my lack of experience. She showed me how to perform it and mentioned that I should take into consideration my anatomy. I have a very long torso and shorter legs and arms. I also have a deep forward bend. So my experience of the pose will be different from hers because she has a shorter torso, longer legs, and longer arms. That comforted me because I know that I’ve got to work with my body and find my expression of it.

She complimented me on my practice and called it beautiful. Beautiful is not a word I would use to describe my practice. I would say either honest or earnest, but not beautiful. But then again I wouldn’t use beautiful as a way to describe myself either. In my mind, I’m still that chubby little 3rd grader with really short hair. In my mind, I am still that hesitant girl trying Ashtanga for the first time and wanting to cry because I suck so bad at it. However, I have never felt more beautiful than just after finishing a practice. I let my hair down and my cheeks are flushed and I am pleased with what I just accomplished. I hope and pray that everyone has that experience at least once in their lifetime.

I will say that I just want my practice to be real. I don’t think the point of a practice is to push yourself to the point of mental or physical injury. A lotus takes time to blossom. Babies crawl before they walk. Patience is a lesson echoed in all of nature. I don’t want props in the yoga world. I just want to see where this journey goes and I pray that God allows me the time on earth to see it out as far as I can.

I found it comforting that the instructor today is familiar with Kino and Tim. That means a lot to me because the Ashtanga world is big, but small at the same time. The certified and authorized world even smaller. She’s going away to India for 6 weeks. I will miss her kind energy and I hope that it inspires a girl just like me on the other side of the world. One can only hope.

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