The Ashtanga Experiment, Week One

30 Mar

I’ve been using several yoga DVDs for the past few years in my home practice, each of which honestly deserve a separate post on their own. I think the “Plus Sized”/AnyoneWhoIsNotASize2AndBendy population is seriously under served in the Yoga World. Usually us Phat Folk are targeted via “Weight Loss” yoga DVDs, invariably featuring the skinniest people EVER talking about “reaching a healthy body weight” in incredibly condescending tones. What if you are happy with your size and you want someone to tell you how to adjust for your belly, thighs and butt in certain asanas? What if you are a super stiff large sized person and you need all kinds of modifications? Well, until recently you’ve been shit outta luck, my friend. I’ve been lucky to find some awesome DVDs and books that helped me immensely over the last few years.But recently a little voice told me, “Maybe you should try Ashtanga.” Seriously? The yoga of Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow and sweaty, skinny loincloth Yoga Dudes? Are you fucking kidding me, Inner Voice? Then again, I have tried almost everything else. Lately I feel like my practice is stalled out and I am stuck. So why not? Luckily, only my yoga room will be a witness to my humiliation! I dragged out my copy of Ashtanga Yogaby Juliet Pegrum and got ready to rock.

The 6am thing is not working for me. I am NOT a morning person. I dragged myself out of bed last week at 6am, dogged and determined. I felt stiffer than ever before. I kept thinking about the infamous Pattabhi Jois quotations , “Do your practice and all is coming”, and  “Body not stiff, mind stiff“. I thought about how two years ago I couldn’t do a Sun Salutation without a chair and it would take everything I had just to get through a few of them. Nevertheless, at the end of the week I began to have little fantasies about saying adios to sunrise practice and a big fat HOLA to sunset practice. Is it a Moon Day yet so I can actually fucking sleep? Whatever, my body is hella stiff first thing in the morning, and 10 rounds of Sun Salutations barely gets things loosened up enough to function.

I decided as an experiment (since this is all technically an experiment. My whole life is one big experiment) to try an afternoon practice to see what happened. And guess what? It was awesome! The restrictive, rule following, perfectionist and honestly, punishing/ex-Catholic part of me was aggravated by this, but whatevs. I’m tired of fighting my body. Body says 5pm yoga done to Slayer, body gets what it wants. Body wants green juice and saurkraut? Body gets it. Body wants Coke Zero and Extra Apple Pie gum? Body gets that, too. Body wants to sleep until 6:30am? You got it. We’ll see how week 2 goes…

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