“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie
I cheated on my ashtanga practice yesterday. It felt really good. I highly recommend it. I’m only half joking in my choice of words as I am a pretty devoted student. However, as a student, I also think it’s important to see outside of the box we each carefully construct for ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I would never say ashtanga is easy, far from it, I’m challenged every single time I get on the mat, but the difference between trying a new yoga style versus ashtanga is that in my own practice, pretty much the sequence is for the most part, un changing. The differences arise in who I am that day, how I feel both physically and emotionally, the weather, my teachers choices in where to push me and the types of adjustments I may get, or gulp, a new asana to tack on, but I still usually have the comfort of my shala, the usual suspects in the room with me, sustaining our energy together, a comfort zone to anchor me. In another style, well, I may as well be in a foreign country with a guide map written in a language I’ve never seen before. I hadn’t tried any other type of yoga when I first went in an ashtanga room, only when I decided to do a
teacher training student immersion, that my teacher told me to venture off the tribe and not just read about other types and styles of yoga but to try them, so I did, for awhile at least. I tried quite a few, some I liked, some, I just didn’t but at some point about two years ago, I just really stuck with my tried and true first love, ashtanga.
My sister in law is not just a fabulous person, but as well a fantastic yoga instructor. She teaches vinyasa flow and trained as well as is mentored by a highly regarded instructor. At his shala, they have started teaching a new style called sridaiva. I met her there last night to take an all in hour and a half class. Though, I’m not changing faiths, I must admit, I really enjoyed it and found it vigorous but also restorative and uplifting. I honestly was as sweaty as the most intense Mysore session but had an noticeable boost of energy and sense like I could fly when I was done. It was awesome and fun.
Sridaiva, was not just rearranging a sequence, as I sometimes refer to flow styles as ashtanga improv, but a whole different way to hold your body and stay up on your toes, big toe and pinky toe to be exact, ideally with your heels lifted and a bounce thrown in, or not, up to you to find your edge. The posturing engaged bundhas merely through the action in your glutes, spinal curve, rib cage fully open and subtle but active pulling in of the femurs through the glute and thigh action. Everything looked wonky and felt so odd at first, but alas it kicked my asana in the best way, completely new, unknowns, uncertainty, fears, but yet taught and communicated in such a thoughtful, precise, fun, and compassionate way that failures didn’t matter, ego went out the window and some yummy soul soothing vulnerability in such a trusting and guided way was able to manifest within me. What a gift.
I was afraid I would be sore and achy today, not because it hurt, but just because it was so different and new, I wasn’t sure if I had awakened any new muscle points, but was happily surprised to feel really good, better, in fact than my old, sore body had felt in quite awhile, my normal twinges were quiet, but I did feel some minor soreness in my lower lats and obliques, in that sweet way of new strength and release of facia.