After an anxious day and a difficult time trying to not think about my “new path”, I finally was able to leave work today at quarter of five to head up to Philly. I had to make sure to get there no earlier than 5 or I’d get charged an arm and a leg for parking. Anytime after 5 is $12 unlimited and since I’m driving up there four days a week, I need to save the cash whenever possible.
Once there, I made the three block walk to the shala and climbed the three flights of stairs to find Elizabeth, the instructor, waiting for the 5:30 class to start. Since I’m so early, I could change, eat a small snack (bad yogi) and relax for a bit before our class started at 6. She said starting tomorrow, I could start early if I wanted, but today I had to wait to learn the beginning part.
Before we went into the Mysore room, we signed a waiver and and we were handed over a sheet of paper, which was to be our primary series cheat sheet. This was going to be our saving grace, but she told us not to rely on it, as we would be doing bits and pieces over and over again in order to help us memorize the sequence. When you start Ashtanga, everyone begins with the Primary Series. Some people say that it is the most physically demanding and many people never get past it!
When 6 o’clock came, I took my first step into the Mysore room as an official Ashtanga practitioner. The first thing I noticed was the heat; how could you not? It smacked you in the face as soon as you walked in! I found a spot along the back wall, which was reserved for Ashtanga beginners and I, along with two others, began the program that will set us off as fledglings in the Mysore room by months end; how exciting!
It was louder in the “quiet” room than I anticipated. Lots of thumping and jumping, along with some small talk thrown in. The energy in the room was almost tangible. I loved it! You could almost feed off of it. It was a totally different vibe than any vinyasa class I’ve been in.
We went over our sun salutations and some standing postures today- stopping at utthita paravakonasana. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be dead tomorrow. I’m so sore from walking around all day yesterday in these heavy leather combat boots and my shins and hip flexors are practically screaming. Throw in a yoga practice and I’m as done as a turkey dinner!
I still stand by something I heard several years ago. The cure from being sore from yoga is… MORE YOGA! I know I’ll probably be sore and achy for a bit, but that means I am stretching and strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments! That’s a good thing! I need to amp up my asana game.
I did receive a few good corrections/assists today. One I really want to try to pay more attention to is that I need to put more weight into the entire palm of my hands, especially during chaturangas. Evidently, I put more of my weight on the outer pinky edge. I can feel a big difference when I change it, so this is one of my first major hurdles.
Well, this is all for now. A journey begins with a single step and I took mine. ::sigh:: The first step is the hardest one to take. You have to create the momentum to get yourself going. Once you’re moving, it’s easier to keep moving in the direction you wish to move. I know where I wish to go. I know what I wish to become. I am already there. I am that.
The photo was taken from one of the rooms at the shala.