Ashtanga Yoga is not popular. It is hard and only for the ‘elitist’. You have to be fit and strong. You have to be flexible. You must have a strong core (strength). This is what most people think.
Do you know the difference between ‘ideal’ and ‘reality’?
Ideally, anyone who practices Ashtanga Yoga is fit and strong. In reality anyone can practice the sequence except ‘lazy people’.
In the beginning, you need to learn the sequence. Then watch the challenges come in – poor memory, fear, frustration, repetition, boredom and confusion etc. You will struggle with the poses. You will encounter stumbling blocks – arms too short, hips too heavy, core muscles are weak, no strength in the arms or legs etc. Every imaginable excuse comes alive as if we never knew that they existed.
Maybe you might sustain a Ashtanga Yoga injury. Perhaps the practice is too hard or not suitable for you because you are too ____________________ (fill in the blank).
After many years of uninterrupted practice, one day the mysore magic takes place. Something within will click and the pandora box opens. The once impossible becomes possible. You wonder why? The practice is still the same (remember it is a structured sequential practice) but somehow you have changed.
Your body changes. Your mind is open to possibilities. Suddenly it is not about touching your toes or bending backwards. You begin to enjoy the process (although it is still challenging) and look forward to that day of the practice. You start to see the practice as a way of your weekly routine. The one hour on the mat has become your little oasis to rest and explore your body. Savasana (corpse) feels much easier and peaceful.
The practice will teach you about patience and connecting with yourself. It is like the wifi connection. You don’t see it but you know it is there. It is a transformational journey and everyone goes through the same process. Nothing happens overnight.
The practice doesn’t favour anyone except the willing. The strong bodied will learn flexibility, the bendy bodies will need to build strength and focus.
Ashtanga Yoga is for everyBODY as long as you are willing to step on your mat and work through the challenges – physically and mentally. Some days are good and some days not. But stay with the practice because it will change your life in a way you would least imagined it to be.