Yes, my pretties: I did it, and I lived to blog about it! My lovely sister-in-law gave me the Xmas gift that keeps on giving: a led primary series with my Miami Yoga Goddess of All Things Ashtanga and Hawaiian print, Kino MacGregor. I really wish that we could have done more of the rest of the workshop, but funds were very tight as I had to move unexpectedly at the end of the year. The most surprising things, other than the fact that I did not die or perish in flames? How incredibly tiny she is! And also how much she channels Jois in the way she teaches. She came over and said to me, “You do!” and believe me, I did. She kinda scared the crap out of me! It’s odd to hear the voice of a 90-year-old Indian man coming out of a tiny, very young woman.
As always, I enjoyed her very clear instruction and the way that she helps you to understand the asana from the inside out. Kino is just an amazing teacher, and I can’t wait to do more workshops in the future with her!
Another surprising thing about this workshop: I didn’t spend most of it body-checking everyone and obsessing about whether or not I was the fattest person in the room or not. I was too busy praying to the Dark Gods of Ashtanga, Heavy Metal and Whatever–desperate pleas that I would not embarrass myself and/or not be able to finish! My practice has been non-existent over the last 4 months, and I was dreading the ass kicking that I was sure was going to happen. I felt very proud that I finished, as I have only ever done the full primary three times. It made me realize that fear and my own doubt are my worst enemies in this practice. Kino did, in fact, say to another student, “Why fearing?”. I felt like she really meant it for me!
The benefit of having to move unexpectedly is that I now have a practice space, hell yeah! I practiced this morning, and while it was short and kind of not the greatest—it was practice. It feels good to be back in the AM Ashtanga groove again.
My ongoing obsession with both my screwed-up hips and anything Kino has to teach me from afar knows no bounds! Hey, that skeleton is more flexible than I am! And it’s DEAD!
“There’s a certain lesson that each movement, each posture contains. The yoga practice makes a promise to you, and the promise is that you won’t be allowed to move on from your lesson until you really get it. There’s no way that you can fake that, there’s no way you can get a pass.” Ain’t that the freaking truth!
Kino, reading my mail again. Well, not literally—but she might as well be.
The take home message? You don’t have to be a super flexible or super athletic person to start Ashtanga yoga. You just have to do it. As Kino says, “If I can do it, you can do it!”. I always come back to the similarities between the recovery process and Ashtanga; it’s not for people who want it, it’s not for people who need it, it’s for people who do it.
In the spirit of just doing it, I took my second Intro to Ashtanga class with Julia on Sunday and it was great…except for the parts where I kept wanting to kick the dude in front of me in the freaking head. Anyone who interrupts an Ashtanga class to try to correct the teacher, does their entire own series of poses, loudly rearranges his mat during savasana or hits on new women in the class needs a kick to the head in my book. This guy did all of the above. Speaking of recovery, defects of character/hindrances anyone? Arrrrrgh! Damn you, Step 6!
This is why I like to practice in my safe Slayer yoga cave–I get all tweaky and twitchy in yoga classes. The only person I can get mad at in the Slayer Shala is ME, cuz it’s just me, my mat and Tom Araya screaming about raining blood from a lacerated sky or some other such stuff that makes me giggle. And really, this was just another instance of me being mad at myself–being mad that I am injured, being mad that I am fat, being mad that I am “old”, being mad that I am stiff, being mad that men in my past have been dicks, being mad that I am me. I don’t know this guy and I don’t know his deal or what he’s going through; it’s not my job to run things or correct his behavior. I’m getting mad at him for trying to run the class and in the meantime I’m doing the same exact thing by wanting to “run” his behavior! I crack myself up. I could feel the angry bear in me gearing up to kick some ass! I had to tell her to go chill out and take a nap or something. No mauling tourists today, no picnic baskets and no swiping in class. Got it? We are not trying for this:
courtesy of fiendbear.com
But we are moving toward this:
That bear is definitely way more flexible than I am!
More words of wisdom from my, ahem, future teacher. Actually, I suppose she is my teacher right now, just from afar. I had to take some notes during this short video–she phrases things in a way that I can grasp and relate to as a new practitioner:
” Through the practice of yoga, you learn that if you try to overpower things, if you try to accomplish things with brute force or overactivation, then you end up hurting yourself. And if you take that same attitude to life, you end up hurting others. So rather than using the practice to..hide places of weakness or hide insecurities, the idea is to actually go directly into them. You know, lean into it. The places that scare you are the places that are most possible for you to connect with others”
And also, very apropos my practice in the last grief-filled year:
“I almost feel like the more that my heart breaks and the more that I’m able to share that, the more that the practice is working and the stronger I become.”
More words to chew on from Kino…I need to hear this today as I am healing from my hand surgery: