I’ll never, ever, ever, ever forget the first time of bringing my sister to a yoga class. The family comedian, she did NOT check her bag of jokes at the door with shoes. Rather, mid-flow, pulling into a brief Balasana, she whispered, “Why is everyone breathing like an astronaut?”
And I laughed out loud!
The strict yoga girl. All about the calorie burn. All about the flow. All about hitting every pose perfectly. And I could barely pull into downward dog because every bit of my body laughed!
Immediately, everyone in class wore a space helmet, even my yoga crush. And boy oh boy oh boy did his astronaut costume make my knees extra weak. 🙂
Oh, how I love my hilarious sister, let me count the ways. Here’s a picture from that yoga date, 28 May 2011. I’m in black. She, in blue. Again. Unforgettable. My sister is irreplaceable.
Fast forward almost four years, and we’ve both experienced enough unexpected events to alter the courses of our lives forever. For me, specifically, I lost my yoga. Set to find it. And I’m currently happily stationed at year 1.33 of doing so.
In accordance with my new yoga schooling, on Sunday night, I practiced to an Advanced Ashtanga Yoga Class on YouTube, one taught in 1989 by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, a yoga master. And I totally kept pace. Sure, it was hard as hell, but I could proficiently jump into 90 percent of the headstand sequence, and do it all gracefully.
Imagine headstand to Eka Pada Koundinyasana II (after 30 minutes of breathing your body away!)… Imagine putting your leg behind your head, lifting the free leg skyward, raising onto arms in a balance, then pulling both legs through the arms to chatturanga (plank accomplished via jump), and you’ll celebrate your ABs big fucking time. I did.
That practice, although I couldn’t do particular moments (just yet), made me so jazzed and happy!
And then today happened.
Searching for the most advanced Ashtanga practice on YogaGlo, I found the most advanced version available, the Intermediate Series, also known as the Nerve Cleansing Sequence. And seriously.
After I completed this, despite “stepping backward” from Sunday’s advanced Ashtanga to an intermediate version, I wanted to melt into a slumber deeper than the Mediterranean Sea. But I had things to do. And now, several hours later, every. single. part. of. my. body. is. awakened. exhausted. ready. to. nap.
The poses of today’s practice are not any different than the vinyasa flow that I’ve conducted for the past seven years, so why the abrupt reaction?
THE ASTRONAUT BREATH.
Ashtanga yoga involves a longer holding of the poses, a strictness unlike that of modern, fashionable vinyasa flow. And during such activity, every bit of my body is heightened, not aching, but challenged! My hamstrings. Abdominals. Forearms. Breast bones. Facial cheeks. Buttocks. Interior of upper thighs. Exterior of upper thighs. Calves. Feet. Fingers. Even my hair.
It’s all been affected.
And it all hit just as today’s intermediate series concluded.
Despite this amazing biological feeling, the perfectionist in me begged to rationalise that Ashtanga blows and that I’ll return to hip hop vinyasa tomorrow, so I immediately suffocated that notion and thought that I’ll do whatever floats my boat. I’m no longer fat and rushed. I’m ready to explore. Whatever I feel like doing in my yoga, I shall do. And that is something totally new.
Have a good day, and namaste. 🙂