The Ashtanga Experiment, Week 4

21 Apr



I can’t believe I made it a full four weeks of almost daily Ashtanga asana and meditation practice without imploding or something. Considering how much fear I used to have about Ashtanga, I am amazed at how kind of into the practice I actually got. Is it difficult? Yes. Do I have moments where I am thinking, “What the fuck am I doing on this yoga mat right now?”? Oh hell yes. I also spend quite a lot of time laughing, either at my playlists or at how godawfully inflexible I am. Most days, I am pretty eager to get home from work and lock myself in the Slayer Shala and get my yoga on. I actually bought myself proper yoga clothing, which is a miracle of miracles. For years, I was so screwed up about my body image and so engulfed in my eating disorder that I would not wear any form-fitting clothing, ever. It didn’t matter if no one was going to see it but me, it was not happening. I finally got sick of getting tangled up in my pajamas and in struggling with track pants that fit me 75 pounds ago and now look like a clown suit. If I am going to dedicate 5-6 days a week to practice, then I need to have clothes that are functional. I’m not saying I went all Lululemon and shit, but I did hit Old Navy and actually invest in the right size active wear. It still kind of freaks me out, but it definitely makes practice way easier.

I now do not have to go to me knees during any of the plank portions of the sun salutations, and I need to take fewer (ahem) extra breaths. I added some new asanas, and I am now doing up through the dreaded Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, which was my nemesis in Bikram and is still my nemesis. Sorry, I mean, I am making friends with this asana (yeah, right).

My body is still going through a phase of total rejection at the gym. The last time I went to lift weights, my right side seized up again. I was really annoyed and agitated about this. I was talking to a friend who is a yoga teacher and ashtangi, and I started almost sobbing hysterically when I told her that I think I have to give up lifting weights. I am terrified to do this! I’ve been lifting since 1998 and it is something that I truly love. Unfortunately, I think it is truly fucking me up right now and I don’t know how many more clear signals I need before I stop. Not lifting this week as an experiment (me and my experiments).

Things are certainly easier now than they were four weeks ago. I am going to keep going. If a 42 year old who needs to lose 50 more pounds can do this, then Pattabhi Jois was right—anyone can do this practice.




One Response to “The Ashtanga Experiment, Week 4”

  1. Nicole April 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I have been practicing Ashtanga for five years now, and have had a six-day-a-week Ashtanga practice for four years. I find that I have a hard time functioning and centering my day without my practice. It’s brought me a lot of peace through difficult times. I wish the same for you! If you ever have any questions, just let me know.

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