One full year has passed since that rainy morning I first walked into AYC for a Mysore style class at what I thought then was bright and early (6:00am).
Since May 12, 2008, I have practiced Mysore style 191 times (including today) primarily at AYC, with a couple visits to Back Bay Yoga, one at Yoga Sutra, and one at Ashtanga Yoga Charlottesville.
I have managed to stick with this for a year now. One year of commitment that really seems to be sticking and feeling so right. This coming from a gal who won't renew her PO Box for more than 6 months at a time. (Aristophanes was completely floored by my lack of commitment to a PO Box.)
Only after 9 or 10 months of Baptiste I got a serious case of wander-lust and fluttered around a bit - catching classes here and there between Down Dog, Flow and AYC. Baptiste, played with some Jivamukti which was/is fun, and attended a couple Ashtanga classes. Gentle A was covering D's Ashtanga level 1 classes at the time and after my first class he asked me if I was hooked, drenched in sweat and already beginning to feel a bit sore, I said most certainly.
After that, I went to London for an AcroYoga workshop and while there realized that Ashtanga really was where I wanted to be - I met many people with many different practices and the ones who really had strength and grace were the Ashtangis. At the time, little could I fathom how much more there is to this practice that has the potential to be both as frustrating as a Chinese finger puzzle and a sweet as the first spring day.
I must confess, I have been dabbling with Iyengar, once a week since the start of the new year; however, I've found that Ashtanga/Iyengar can really inform one another quite beautifully. The main difficulty I seem to have is remembering how far to distance my feet in trikonasana between the two traditions.
One of the many things I love about practicing Ashtanga this way is that I've learned to accept the vagaries of my body on a daily basis, work with it, and still appreciate the way strength and flexibility develop through practice. When there is even the smallest breakthrough it gives a sense of accomplishment. However. There are always refinements that can be made and there's always something more ahead or already in the practice to continue to hone, observe and study. There's a level of discipline and meditation inherent in the practice that I find hard to find within every day waking life.
I would go so far as to say 4:45am - 7:15am are my favorite hours of the day.
After 1 year of Mysore style practice, where am I?
Standard practice is Primary up to and including Bhekasana.
But more importantly, loving every minute of it.
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And a gratuitous Drop Back clip from after this morning's practice, simply in celebration of 1 year and 1 fraction of this 1st year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yzyraVAh1o