Experiencing Ashtanga


Yoga – this has been something that I kept eluding for quite sometime. And being me, I have this eternal quest to learn things in an ideal situation that can challenge me from all quarters. This quest is a classic example of how to put things on hold, waiting for the perfect moment! 🙂

I did try doing Yoga across few styles, different methodologies, sometimes given as a way to improve flexibility, or as a magic for weight loss. I always wanted to learn Yoga as a way of life, as a means to transcend, as a tool to understand my self much deeper.

I experienced a glimpse of what I was longing for when my friend Valeria Karuk introduced me to Ashtanga, during our time in Cherai Beach. Though it was just for a week, I had experienced the essence of it. I understood it was just not even the tip of the iceberg. That stayed with me all through and after that, I vowed not to try any other form till I learnt it as it has to be. I connected so deeply with ‘Ashtanga Yoga’.

Finally, after a wait of 3yrs from that first experience, I have now stepped into the journey of exploring Yoga and Philosophy. My sincere Thanks and deepest Gratitude to Andrew Eppler for his contribution to the Mysore Yoga Tradition.

As I walked into the hall this morning, I realised I was stepping into a zone of yogis, who are so deep into their practice and understanding of the tradition of yoga and philosophy. It quite surprised me, can we, being Indians still own up Yoga to our roots? I felt though the roots are here and deep unseen, the branches have grown into such a wholesome tree bringing in these blessed souls from almost all parts of the world.

Then hit the other realisation! They are all in the range of practicing yoga between a period of 7-20yrs or even more, and to top that, most of them are yoga teachers! And I, happen to step into my DAY 1 🙂

My experience today, was so compelling, that I thought, it would be nice if I could chronicle my journey through it for these 10days!

Day 1: Pain to Perspective

As the practice began, I saw everyone so graciously live every possible essence of yoga. The sequence, the vinyasa, the smile, the congruence was so evident in each of them. All this, while I try to fit in, copy, sneak a peek, sweat, tire, admire and long for the moment when I would be able to be what I saw!

It is said that Pain is the best teacher. Pain gets us to a point where the possibility of a solution begins. Pain either physical, mental, emotional, financial, as Andrew said today, is good. But I was wondering why I was not having any pain yet! :)) Meaning, I had prepared for this journey well and also, as instructed, kept things only to an extent of stretching to an 80-90% of pushing my limits.

Usually we tend to pick up a new learning only when we don’t exhaust ourselves of the excitement of pushing to our best. When we try to push to our maximum possibility, we tend to wear out and stay away. So, to form a habit, it is always better to take it slow, one step at a time, calibrate, adjust, imbibe and then live it. And with all my being, I want to live all this learning here.

What I experienced today though, is a pain of not being able to get to this point earlier. The pain that I have now, is the longing and the long way ahead that I see to be able to live what I still saw today! And hopefully, this pain will get me there too!

Interacting with the scholar, Sri Lakshmi Thatachar, 84yrs, today, was an humbling moment. It is true when he said – “My roots are in the past. I am in the present. I work for the future”. This was so evidently visible in how he could conveniently navigate through the western and our culture, traditions and philosophy with a seamless connect with each one of us.

He took us through the roots of Yoga, why Yoga, how Yoga, starting from the Sankhya philosophy.  Again, the reality that it is all here, but do we know it, do we see it, do we want it is so evident. We have the luxury of choice. But, to make a choice, do we know what we want in the first place? How do we know that? How do we perceive? How can we perceive better?

For now, I am a seeker for every possible experience that can help me learn, live and just BE.


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