Change your mind… Then change it again!

There are many times in our lives where we change our minds.  Do we want tacos or a salad?  Maybe just a taco salad?  Do we want to go out with friends or lounge at home on the couch?  Do we get the gray or the olive green tee?  We make millions of choices every—single—day, and some of them we give absolutely no thought to.  Other times, we sit there perplexed, as if we are trying to find the cure to world hunger (I wish!).

meditation-511563_640The thing is, why is it that we can make decisions and feel free to change our minds in these aspects of our lives, but when it comes to other aspects of our lives… you know the BIG ones (the ones that REALLY matter), we feel like once we have made a decision we are stuck?  These big issues, like: our jobs, relationships and our future are the things we should feel the most freedom about changing our minds.  These are things that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  If we can put back a navy sneaker and go with a classic white sneaker instead, then damnit, we oughtta be able to say to ourselves “You know what… this career isn’t really a good fit for me.” and LEAVE!  So, yeah… maybe we worked hard for that choice (student loans anyone?), but that doesn’t mean we are obligated to stay.

We would never tell someone in an abusive relationship that they should stay because “they have been in it for a while”, or that “they chose it”, or even that “maybe things will change” would we?  Hell no!

So, think of it this way, if you made a decision you are no longer happy with— leave.  End that abusive relationship and get out!

Want to read more? 👇
Click here to learn how to make a change in your life… it’s NEVER too late (I promise)

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For more published articles by me, click here!!

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Dawning of Spring

Spring is JUST around the corner.  It’s as if it is playing peek-a-boo.  It comes out to play for a moment before going back in hiding.  That is the nature of spring though— temperamental! 😀  This year, spring arrives on March 20th, which means with each passing day, we’ll have longer and longer days!  Spring is a glorious time of year.  Everything comes back to life and it is full of birds, bees, flowers, sunshine… pollen and of course, wind, rain and sometimes snow.  :/

spring-daffodils_2845661b

During this time of year, many people get sick.  Whether it is due to allergies, or from the fluctuation in the weather; ailments seem to manifest in many.

Although the seasons are changing, it is important to note that we are not changing Ayurvedic “seasons”.  We are still in Kapha season, and we should treat our bodies accordingly.

Aren’t sure how to do that?  I wrote a helpful article addressing each individual Dosha and how to help each of our bodies thrive during the remaining months up until summer, when Pitta season takes over.

Want to read more? 👇
Hop on over to Sivana east to read more!!

Please like and share! 🙏💕

For more published articles by me, click here!!

Chronic Pain: Lessons Learned

For those of us who have lived in chronic pain for months… or even years, we slowly learn these habits.  Some are a way of self coping or self soothing.  Some are a way of protecting ourselves from pain or perceived slights or threats.  Other times, it is simply about self preservation; “what do I have to do to make it through another f’ing day?”

Am I being a little to raw here, I don’t think so.  I am by no means suicidal, but there have been times where I think a bullet to the head would have been a kind gesture.  ::sigh::

With all of this said, in my pain free state, I have something I would like to share with the world.  I have lied and I have hid things from people.  I have done things that have been counterproductive to my health.  Why?  Probably because, well… either I’m scared, shy, embarrassed, overwhelmed, or just being a stubborn ass.  I wrote an article about some things I have learned and I would like to share it with all of you.  This is an open invitation for those in chronic pain to take a look at themselves and maybe make a few changes to their own habits.  Maybe you too can improve the quality of your life; resist the temptation to let the black hole swallow you up, even if the pain still persists.

Want to read more? 👇
Hop on over to Sivana east to read more!!

Please like and share! 🙏💕

For more published articles by me, click here!!


Check out these related blogs 👇
*  Returning to the Mat: A Lesson in Ahimsa
*  Dream, Dream, Dream

Gaining & Retaining Students

At some point or another, as teachers, we’ve all stood there going “Who am I?  What do I have to offer?” or even maybe  “Why is my class so small?” Sometimes doubt creeps in; don’t let it!  There are several important questions you should be asking yourself, but more importantly, you need to have the ANSWERS.

In order to attract, grow, and maintain a tribe, you need to first discover who you are.  Solve that riddle, and your tribe will find you.

For 5 simple steps, look👇 below!
Hop on over to Sivana east to read more!!

Please like and share! 🙏💕

Fore more published articles by me, click here!!

Manifestation

I’ve been told that if you write something down, it’s more likely to happen.  If you tell someone, the percentage of it happening is even more likely of happening.  ::sigh::  Well, I have already done both of these things, but this is more personal (even though it’s public) and I can also include links and photos and make it my inspiration board too.

When I finished my YTT, I had said that my grand scheme was to travel the world and teach workshops.  I didn’t want to own a yoga studio.  I wanted to go around to other places and teach at their studios or host retreats.  Of course, I knew I needed some experience before I could go out offering such a thing and somewhere along the way I fell in love with this thing called “Ashtanga” and I fell down that rabbit hole pretty hard.

By no means do I think I am an authoritative person in the yoga world, but I feel like I am ready to step into my first yoga retreat.  So here are some things that I want to do during my retreat.

Things Included In My Retreat

  • Twice Daily Yoga Sessions
    • AM: sequenced vinyasa yoga
    • PM: slower vinyasa yoga (focus on: hips, twists, heart openers, etc.)
  • Meditation
  • Pranayama
  • Conference/Group Discussion
  • Asana Workshops (TBD: arm balances, backbends, etc.)

Things to Be Considered

  • Chanting
  • Other Workshops
    • Mala Making
    • Essential Oil
    • Healthy Food (diet, meal planning, prep, cooking, etc.)

When

  • Early 2018 or 2019
    • Depending on:
      • Location of retreat (weather)
      • Interest
      • Length required to plan
      • Work schedule (Nigeria trips)

Location

  • Costa Rica (my number 1 spot)
  • Bali
  • Mexico
  • Guatamala

Location Necessities

  • Catering (I don’t want to cook the food)
    • Able to feed V, VG, GF & meat eaters!
  • Accommodations for 10-20 people
    • Single, double & triple rooms
  • Yoga cannot be outdoor only (i.e. on the grass)
  • Under $2,000 per person

Location Wants

  • Outdoor yoga deck (SWOON!)
  • Airport transfer available by hotel
  • Adventures/spa day’s available for purchase
  • $500-$1,500 per person would be ideal

Misc/To Be Considered

  • Early bird discount $100-$200?? (TBD)
  • Free gift/memento

MORE THINGS ADDED AS I THINK OF THEM 🙂

Here are some of my ideas!


Option 1

I’m not sure why I didn’t think to check out Tulum before, but I just stumbled across this magnificent place and.. well, look!  ::sigh::  Check out Amansala!

Available Activities: (* On site)

  • Spa treatments/massage*
  • Bike ride to Mayan ruins
  • Climb ruins of Coba
  • Snorkling/Diving
  • Kayaking
  • SUP

Option 2

This place looks so tranquil! It is Isla Verde Hotel and is in Guatemala! This place is cheaper and everything isn’t quite as nice, but the location is still so gorgeous.

Available Activities (* On site):

  • Sauna/hot tub*
  • Massages*
  • Hiking Volcano
  • Kayaking
  • Diving
  • Zip-lining
  • Birdwatching
  • Nature reserve
  • Horseback riding
  • Paragliding
  • Coffee & corn tour
  • Visit local market

Value Option 1

Something a little different.  This is a house rental in Costa Rica.  The only issue I have with stunning place is there is no place to do indoor yoga.  I know that was on my necessities list, but with cost, you have to compromise somewhere…  Costa Rica is fairly dry in January and February, so perhaps the weather will favor us.  A little rain while we aren’t doing our yoga won’t be too bad.  Anyway, let’s get to the big reveal!  This is a beachfront, 5-acre slice of heaven, called Natura Reserve!  It prizes itself on maintaining a wild ambience, keeping in touch with nature, and having many of the items handcrafted.

This place is a perfect little getaway for my tribe and will definitely keep costs down.  I’d have to look into how much it would cost to have the catering done for us, and they say they can help people set up any tour activities they want.

Available Activities (none on site):

  • Tree climbing
  • Birdwatching
  • SUP
  • Kayaking
  • Waterfall repelling
  • Surfing
  • Horseback riding
  • ATV tour
  • Fishing
  • Zip-lining
  • Dolphin watch
  • Spa treatments/massage

Well, that’s it for now.  I may come back and add more to this and let it grow as I see fit.  At least it’s out there! Whoohoo!

Misc Planning Tools

Crossed Off Locations

Judgement Day

It’s been a while since I’ve been judged.  I don’t know what it is about politics, but it never seems to bring out the best in people.  I was having a civil conversation with someone about popular vote v. electoral vote when another person decided to call me out on a simple error I had written (all of this happened on Facebook)

  • Note: He could have just mentioned that I was incorrect in my mention of CA being a swing state, because it totally is, but instead he posted something along the lines of:
    • “LOL at you posting CA as a swing state, it’s been a blue state for the past 25 years!” and then proceeded to call me a hippie and then something along the lines of “if all the California liberals left, than those votes could be used for good.”  and then closed his statement with “and no, I’m not a Taurus.”
    • I fail to see how any of the above sarcasm or snark is beneficial to anyone…

Of course, being a good yogi, I took the bait and responded.  :/  I started off admitting my error and then went on to how I didn’t appreciate him making assumptions about me.  I’m fairly certain my response of “You are correct about CA, that was an error on my part. I’m capable of admitting my mistakes; however, I don’t appreciate you making assumptions of me when you know NOTHING about me. I don’t live in California, I am nowhere near a “hippie” and I’m actually fairly conservative. Take your presumptions somewhere else, please.” could have been written with a little more love and kindness.

He shot back with something along the lines of “AWESOME! Glad to see you’re reading.”  At that point, I decided it was best to disengage.  There was nothing to gain from this, though what I really wanted to do was type back was “Fuck off.”  Instead, I went to his Facebook page and blocked him.  Now, I can’t see anything he has written, so that is why I cannot put verbatim our conversation.  I thought about unblocking it to get it, and then re-blocking it, but I have decided it is in my best interest to stay away.  Could he be writing more things about me and I wouldn’t know it; absolutely.  Would it do me any good to know about it— nope.

As I sit here, I do the real homework.  Why did that interaction piss me off so much?  It wasn’t that I got called out on being wrong.  Admitting my mistake wasn’t difficult.  Was it the fact that I was called a hippie?  I don’t think so; I’ve been called much worse.  So, if it wasn’t any of these things, then what was it?

I think what it may boil down to is that I felt like I was back in middle school all over again.  I was the kid being judged for things that weren’t true.  I ran away from that for YEARS.  I even changed school districts when high school came around, to escape from all the teasing, bullying and drama.  The thing is, so what if the things he said were true? What if I was a hippie from California?  Big deal!!!  That wouldn’t make me a bad person.

So, I’m already feeling threatened, having a hard time choking down the food plopped on my plate, and he insults my knowledge by throwing in my face that I’m more or less finally “reading”.  GAH!  Again, another topic of my life I struggled with and ran away from.  I ran away to college and eventually ran all the way across the country to escape it.  Despite being an honors student in high school, I had to hear that I wasn’t smart, that I wouldn’t go to college.  Essentially, I felt like I wouldn’t really amount to… well, anything.  That left permanent scars on my heart and I don’ t know if I’ll ever truly get past feeling inept.  Being wrong is one thing, being made to feel inept is another.

So there it is… that is why this person pissed me off.  He reminded me of my school days, where I was made fun of, and he made me feel inept, all in a matter of minutes.  ::sigh::  It’s okay though, because even though he hurt me in a matter of minutes, he was also out of my life just as fast.  He is blocked and I won’t be seeing anything from him ever again.  I’m determined to remove as many obstacles and as much negativity from my life as possible.  The power is back in my court.  I call that a win.  🙂

Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride
Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no
I got to keep on movin’

Dream, Dream, Dream

I had the strangest dream the other night; probably because I was in a lot of pain.  I always have vivid dreams when I have migraines.  They aren’t necessarily medication induced either, because I have them whether I take medicine or not.  One dream was pretty vivid and I am sure there is some symbolism in it, so I will share.

I was on an adventure with my mom.  I’m not really sure where we were headed— maybe the beach.  Anyway, we were in the car and she was driving like a bat out of hell, which isn’t her style.  LOL.  She drives like a Grandma in real life.  It was a nice day and we had the windows down and I was wearing a midriff tee (also not my style) and she had to swerve for some reason, she veered to the left, which made us take the left fork in the road and ultimately, put us on a different path.  She was wondering if it would still get us to where we wanted to go.

I was yelling at my mom for driving like a crazy person when this wasp came in through wasp2the window and started stinging the shit out of me!  It kept stinging me all over my exposed stomach.  BAM, BAM, BAM!  I’m screaming and trying not to aggravate the thing anymore than necessary, but when it kept stinging, I take to smacking at the thing in an attempt to kill the bastard.  Finally, I grab-a-hold of it and it starts stinging my thumb.  I throw it out the window and roll it up in order to keep it outside.  Wasp be gone! Sayonara mutha!

I look down, and my stomach has like 8-10 angry red welts all over it.  😦  Ain’t nobody gonna be looking at this tummy now.  LOL.  I think it’s the same dream, but next thing I know we are parked at some sketchy lot and I’ve been there before, but my mom hasn’t.  I’m a little weary of the abandoned buildings and the biker-type people lurking around, but my mom is completely fine talking to them (stop it mom!).  The whole point of us being there is because I want to take her to this square.  Instead of walking though, we are going to fly.

I grab ahold of her and lazily float up into the air like a hot air balloon.  We begin to float past the grungy buildings.  I’m appalled looking down that this was our destination.  Ick.  I know that where I wanted to take her is coming up though and I point to it.  It’s actually… pretty.  There is a square with an exquisite garden full of flowers and a bubbling fountain, and there’s a tower… all sorts of stuff.  Our destination is the tower (maybe because I can’t float down). As we head towards it, I just take in the beauty; this hidden gem amongst this grungy city.

head-explosion_1Then I wake up… and reality hits.  Pain washes over me and I wish I could go back to sleep and escape reality once more, but I can’t.  I have to drag myself out of bed and get ready for work.  I have escaped the horrendous reality that was my last job, but along with it, I ran away from the fantastic healthcare and sick leave.  Now I have an okay job, but I have to deal with the reality of having no sick leave and what must be the shittiest healthcare plan there is.  ::sigh::  In the meantime, I deal with the chronic pain the best way I know how— pure resolve, medication and knowing that when I get home, I will be able to dream, dream, dream… once more.


Check out these related blogs 👇
*  Chronic Pain: Lessons Learned
*  Returning to the Mat: A Lesson in Ahimsa

Going the Distance…

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes, the flags go up
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern

He’s going the distance
He’s going for speed
She’s all alone
In her time of need

– Cake

As my holiday season comes to a close, I am coming off an Ashtanga high.  Much like Cake’s “The Distance”, my engine was pumping in time as I rang in the New Year by  spending four glorious days in a Mysore intensive with my teacher- David Garrigues.  An intensive with David is just that… intense.  My practice is sorely lacking already, so I knew going in it was going to be a bumpy ride, but that was alright.  David has this way of pulling things out of you.  He asks more of you; constantly.  Even the littlest request could leave you going “Why am I sore here?” the next day (he’s the king of nuances). There were days where I had to really push through parts (mainly the beginning) because I was tight, sore, tired, etc.

Day one didn’t start off too well.  I woke up to discover that I had started my period; AWESOME.  :/  A few other things went wrong that morning too and by the time I made it to the shala, I was ready for a do-over.  LOL.  Luckily, things began to look up once I went into the Mysore room.  I found my spot by the wall and the heaters (yay warmth) and soon enough, my four days of bliss had begun! 😀

I have taken several classes/intensives with David and it is now at at point where he is getting to “know” my practice.  He knows that my shoulders are hella tight and he pokes fun at me and my horrendous shoulderstands.  In return, I get to make small jokes back.  One day, I was up in shoulderstand with my arms behind me in a belt (because otherwise they will run amok) and he comes over and squats down beside me “Ashley, this just won’t do! Get your hands down on your back behind your ribs.  You are on your sides.”  He fixes my hands, and the belt, and gives me some more pointers as he watches.  At this point, I’ve already been there somewhere around 7-10 minutes; I’m sore, tired and my arms are rebelling because they dispise this pose and he goes “You’re losing it…”.  I look at him and go “David… I’m tryyyyying….” in this pathetic voice and he starts laughing, and I start laughing and then half the room starts laughing.  There is just something sincere and honest about him that makes every encounter special and unique.

There were a lot of small things he asked me to work on, but a couple things he really asked me to work on were:

  • Full inhale/exhalations on my vinyasas

I hav a tendency to rush the vinyasa and not fully inhale after my chaturanga

  • Working on my backbends

I have really been working on opening up my chest and to do that, I have been sending my weight towards my chest.  Well, that is good as an exercise, but not for the asana itself.  He had me work on internally rotating my thighs towards the midline (because “Ashley is doing something funny with her legs”) and sending the weight back towards my legs and walking my hands in.  I was having a hard time getting my feet “heavy”.  I just-couldn’t-do-it.  At one point I asked “How do I do that?” and he said, “How do YOU do that?  Figure it out!  You have 40 years!”  Oh David….  The next day he said I looked much better, but that I now needed to work on lifting the chest.

If you ever attend a class/intensive with David, don’t be surprised if you hear any of the following:

  • “Better.”
  • “Go Back!”
  • “STAMP!”
  • “65% better”
  • “Ground.”
  • “What is he/she doing?”
  • “Again.”
  • “25% better”
  • “No, you’re not doing it. Try again.”
  • “Dynamism.”
  • ….. etc

From my experience, each of the above is said with love, conviction and with the best of intensions.  His expectation is that you try; and that you try 100% — even more!  He is very serious about each asana, and that it be done correctly, though he will modify for you if necessary.  Although David is not at the shala all the time due to his teaching schedule, I am blessed to have him as one of my teachers.  If you train with him regularly, he will get to know you, your flaws and recognize when you improve and/or open up.  Expect pranayama work, because that is something David is passionate about.  Personally, I really enjoy it so I enjoy the one hour sessions and it helps me wind down after the two hour practice.

I’m usually lost during the chanting, but I stumble my way through it to the best of my
yama_with_dandaability. HAH! David did make chai this time and it was pretty good.  He closed out the session with a lecture.  Usually with the intensives there are two conferences.  I am usually only able to make one because the other is at a time I am not able to attend.  This talk was all about Dharma.

It was actually quite fascinating.  The talk is on periscope if you want to go listen to it!  It’s about an hour long and he even weaves in some folklore too!

All in all, it was a great way to ring in the New Year!  I met some great people and I also got to reconnectwith some old shala pals I haven’t seen in a while.  It gave me inspiration to try to reconnect with my practice as often as possible and I’m already looking forward to seeing David again in the spring (if my schedule allows).



Check out these related blogs 👇
*  Slow and Steady
*
 Enjoy the Storm

 

Yoga Challenge!

“‘Twfullsizerenderas the night before Christmas and all through
the house… not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!”

Join me and five other hosts for seven days (12/17-12/23) of holiday fun on instagram as we go through this beloved childhood poem!

Before hopping in the sack for that long winters nap, join us for your nightly bedtime story!  We’ll read you a tiny portion of the poem and give you a corresponding yoga pose.  You’ll get to destress with some yoga and have images of sugarplums dancing over your head in no time!  What are you waiting for!?!    Click here for all the details.

P.S.  Did I mention there are prizes 😀

Here are the sponsors:
A Beaded Intention
Buddha Pants
Karma Mob NYC
Mile High Beads
Mind Stuff Clothing

Returning to the Mat: A Lesson in Ahimsa

MEEP, MEEP, MEEP— My blurry eyes open and I fumble for my phone by my head…  is it 5:45 already?  I lay there contemplating if I really want to “do this”.  I could roll over and pretend this never happened, like it was a dream.  Go back to sleep and wake up at 9… even 10!  I sigh, resisting the temptation, knowing that I would regret that decision, before dragging my ass out of bed.  As I slowly make my way through the darkness towards the bathroom, I begrudgingly look at my husband nestled warmly under the covers— I could go curl up again, for just a minute or two.  I stop at the threshold to the bathroom, take one final look and close the door on temptation.

I flick on the light, GAH!  The hostile lighting makes me squint.  My leggings and tank top are already laid out on the floor.  I’m still in a fog, but I smile when the heat kicks on.  I hurry up and grab my leggings and tent them over the vent, so they balloon up with warm air— now I’ll have toasty leggings to put on! I start getting ready and when the heat shuts off I quickly don my warm leggings, with a goofy grin on my face, as if I just got the last piece of chocolate cake or something. Once finished, I sneak out of the bedroom, let my shih tzu out (she’s a morning person) and head downstairs.

I’m short on time (sleep is more important), so I begin my morning ritual.  I quickly fix Meili’s (my shih tzu) hair, give her fresh water and then prepare to feed the starving hound.  If you didn’t know any better, you would think I feed her once a week instead of twice a day.  She goes bonkers for her “num nums”.  Anyway, now that she is hoovering up her food, I can go about my business.  I grab a granola bar, make some tea and begin to put everything I need into my bags.  Before I leave, my hubby comes downstairs and I give him a quick smooch before dashing out the door.

As I make the hour drive, I fall into a meditative state.  Driving on the weekend is nice because there is zero traffic.  It is hard to believe that is has been over two months since I have been at the shala; talk about pathetic.  I have been practicing bits and pieces of the sequence, but nothing in its entirety.  I’ve been doing more like half primary mostly, with bits of the second half thrown in as “project work”.  I’m beginning to worry that I won’t even remember the sequence.  Breathe Ashley, stop worrying so much about something that hasn’t even happened yet.  😀

When I arrive, I automatically feel at home.  Of course, I’ve had that feeling from the very beginning.  If you have ever had the luxury of finding a place to train that feels that way, then you know what I am talking about.  I had that when I did martial arts and I am lucky (and thankful) to have that again here.  I took my time and finally strolled into the Mysore room sometime between 7-7:30 to start my practice.

My practice was going alright.  Of course, I could tell I was out of practice, but I felt okay.  Elizabeth would come over periodically and give me feedback or assists.  She gave me one hell of a supta kurmasana assist that left me quite sore the next day.  It was quite yummy though and one that I actually needed.  I am unable to enter that deeply on my own, so I was very thankful for the assist.

At some point during my practice, a guy came in and placed his mat next to mine.  An odor of marijuana was emanating from him.  The scent of marijuana is a HUGE migraine trigger for me.  I dealt with it for a bit and finally, I went into fight of flight mode.  I began to look around for an escape— a way to flee.  The room was fairly full and I didn’t see a clear, empty spot.  The only place I saw that I could fit would have required two people to more in order to make room for me. So… I stayed, and fought.  I continued my practice and tried not to think about it.

Towards the end of my practice, I was feeling miserable.  I had a migraine.  I messed up the sequence of the last three poses because I found it hard to concentrate and I skipped headstand in closing because I knew it would just make my migraine worse.  Elizabeth, noticed I was in distress and came over to me.  She had me lay down with my feet up the wall, propped my head up and put an eye pillow over my eyes.  I hung out for a while and then decided that I should head home.  She asked if I was okay to drive or if I needed to go to her house and relax for a while.  She asked if I knew what caused my migraine, to which I felt uncomfortable responding since the guy was still right next to me.  She asked if it was asana based and I told her no.

As I sit here now, I have several things on my mind.  I am glad that I went, as it has been months and I needed to go.  Could I have handled the situation better— probably.  In yoga, we learn about ahimsa.  What I did to myself was absolutely self harm.  I should have been an advocate and either moved or left.  Or, I could have practiced the rest of the sequence in the other room (though it would have been cold).  The ultimate outcome of that migraine was completely my fault.  Sure, it is possible that even if I did any one of those things, that even that briefest encounter still could have caused a migraine, but I’m guessing the likelihood of that would have been significantly less.

I will take that as a lesson and I hope that I learn from this.


Other articles you might enjoy:
Chronic Pain: Lessons Learned
Dream, Dream, Dream

Sweet Surrender

I have excellent news to share with you all- I’ve been dying with anticipation to share!  A submission of mine has been published on elephant journal!

We all have had problems surrendering to a situation.  Knowing that it is in our best interest to give in and stop fighting- to let time and fate takes its course.  Yet, we cling to hope, or an expected outcome, stubborn or fearful of what letting go might do.

One of yogas gifts is surrender and this article talks about how I have struggled worked through it on my yoga mat.

Hop on over to Sivana east to read more!!

Please like and share! 🙏💕

Namaste~


Check out this related blog 👇
*  Aparigraha

The Girl Who Quit Ashtanga

While doing some research on the web I stumbled across this article, in which this ashtangi goes into great length as to why she gave up her practice.  I read it, along with the infinite number of comments (she really struck a cord!) and though I read this months ago, it has stuck with me.  So much so, that I felt compelled to write my own thoughts about it.  I guess the easiest way is for me to post her points and then my views.  Here we go!

1.)  Exercising on more than four days a week is unhealthy
Studies like this one show that exercising on six days a week for a prolonged period of time is actually detrimental to your health. Every health professional, coach and personal trainer on the face of the earth would agree…”

My thoughts: Well, the link in the linked article doesn’t work anymore, so I cannot offer an opinion on THAT.  With that said, every health professional is a bit of a stretch.  If five professionals got together, even they probably wouldn’t all agree.  A cursory search on the web brings up articles showing disagrement as to how many days of exercise is ideal.  To make matters more complicated, each persons fitness level and health should be taken into consideration when considering exercise plans.

2.)  There is no wisdom in practicing through injuries
“No wisdom at all. When you are injured, you need to rest, and probably anti-inflammatories. Surely you can stretch your legs while dealing with a wrist injury, but you should definitely not put any weight on your hands. Again, any health professional would agree…”

My thoughts: On this I somewhat agree.  This depends on the injury and the severity of the injury.  That is what modifications are for.  If you have a wrist injury, maybe do things on the forearm or skip handwork altogether and do standing and sitting postures.  On crutches?  Maybe do forward bends and pranayama.  You may not be able to get in a full practice, but you can do something to get movement in your body.  Honor your body.  No one (and hopefully not a teacher!), is telling you to do a full primary practice through pain.

3.)  Ashtangarexia is alive and happening
“The definition of addiction, as I have recently learned… is: “A repeated behavior with a negative impact (causing distress of some sort or health problems), where you are unable to stop, require an increased frequency or dosage, and display symptoms of withdrawal avoidance.”
“Now, I don’t know about you guys, but after a certain point in my practice, I could check off all of these indicators. I had lower back problems, the pressure to maintain my daily practice caused distress, but I wasn’t able to stop, either, because I was too afraid of taking a day off and losing all the ‘progress’ I had made. The fact that my practice had turned me a into an ascetic hermit without a real social life wasn’t even something I worried about at the time…”

My thoughts:  Perhaps this person has an addictive personality.  Yes, people who are drawn to Ashtanga tend to have type A personalities, but if someone is having a hard time managing their life and cannot manage their lifestyle properly, perhaps a life coach or a therapist should be consulted.  If pressure from the instructor is forcing progression the student isn’t ready for, perhaps a new instructor (or shala) is in order.

4.)  If you know you have an issue Yoga cannot solve, seek help
“Very maybe, you are trying to work through some intense trauma. Perhaps your upbringing was terrible, or maybe you suffer from an eating disorder nobody knows of. Yoga can have amazing positive effects on our mental health, but there are certain situations in life that point you towards professional help. Both you and your teacher need to admit that while Supta Kurmasana might release day-to-day stress, it’s not at all an adequate treatment for PTSD.”

My thoughts:  People are brought to yoga for a myriad of reasons- fitness, mental/emotional wellbeing and rehabilitation from injury being the most popular.  The thing about yoga is it tends to drudge up a lot of history and baggage.  Yoga often helps you work through these internal struggles.  With that said, there are some things (of course!) where outside help may be needed.  That is up to the individual yogi to decide.

5.)  Authorization equals a frequent flyer reward
“…These days, it seems, what you have to do to get recognized as a teacher is go to Mysore often enough (read: pay enough money), and someone will bestow upon you the reward in form of authorization. This is irrespective, of course, of your level of experience or teaching skills. On average, if I’m not mistaken, authorization will be granted after four or five trips of several months each, at a monthly cost of €400 or so… Later, there’s the added cost of certification, and psssst, it’sexpensive. While I understand that everyone needs to make money, a hierarchical fee scheme seems pretty… unyogic.”

My thoughts:  Being as how I did a 200 YTT to teach vinyasa, I don’t see this as an oddity.  Sure, it would be great if he came to different countries for a couple months at a time, but India is his home.  Yes, it would be ideal if the teachers he certifies could then go on to authorize other teachers, but alas that isn’t the way it is.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t great teachers out there who aren’t authorized or certified.  I myself train under one- though she recently went to Mysore.  Find a teacher you enjoy and stick with them.  As long as you feel you are getting good instruction and feel safe, that is what matters.  When it is time for you to teach (if you go that route), then it is up to you to decide will you go a non-certified teacher training route or take the Mysore trip.  People say making money is “unyogic”- it isn’t.  It is an exchange for a service.

6.)  The tradition isn’t evolving, it’s arbitrary
“Sunday as the new Saturday? Changes in the sequence just so that the student traffic in Mysore can be handled more efficiently? Come on! No problem with making changes to your own organization, but why does the whole world need to follow? If you are serious about your Yoga, you will not brag about what pose you’re on, how many trips to Mysore you have taken in the past, how many you will be taking in the future, or how many people came to take your class on any given day.”

My thoughts:  Why wouldn’t Sharath change things to handle the influx of students coming to Mysore?  It is the responsible thing to do.  Otherwise, there would be a lot of frustrated yogis, left outside, waiting to get in the shala! 🙂  As far as off days, I do not recall a mandate saying that all shalas are required to take off the same day they do.  My shala is open seven days a week (except for moon days) to allow for everyone’s busy schedule.
I think it is okay to be proud of where you are in a sequence; especially if you have finally achieved a breakthrough.  You do not know how hard they worked for that posture.  They could have been stuck at the previous one for months… years!  Maybe they saved for years to go to Mysore.  I myself have been saving for over a year and I just spent it all (see here), so I am starting from scratch again.  Lastly, I’m proud of my little yoga tribe that shows up when I teach my classes.  Why wouldn’t I?

7.)  Teaching Yoga isn’t a profession- it’s a side job
“I have been warned about this, and I will do my duty and warn you: Do. Not. Quit. Your. Occupation. For. An. Unlikely. Career. In. Yoga. Don’t do it! Yoga is like blogging. It is something that is best enjoyed in small, fun doses on the side. Unless you will be moving to a town where there is not a single Yoga teacher within a radius of at least 50 kilometers, do not open a Yoga studio. You will be losing all your money, and you will be left with no perspective after 35. Do yourself a favor and trust me on this one.”

My thoughts:  Well, I sort of have to agree here.  Making a full time career out of yoga is hard, but I know several people who are doing this and the market is flooded where I live.  If this is your plan, be smart and have a plan.  Don’t quite your job without being able to pay the bills.  Either have money saved or a spouse that can support you.  Or, better yet, line up the yoga jobs and then quit your regular job.  See if you can do workshops too, as those pay more.  The thing to keep in mind is that teaching is exhausting physically, emotionally and mentally.  If you are teaching several classes a day, you are going to get tired.  Don’t run yourself ragged and get sick!

Conclusion: My overall thoughts to this blog entry of hers is one of sadness.  It seems that she trained at a shala where her teacher made her feel as if she had to strive for progression and perfection constantly and perhaps even work through injuries instead of working around them and using modifications.  I cannot say if she felt inadequate or not, but it is clear that she does like comparisons to anyone or anything.  It is sad to see that she has a bad taste in her mouth and no longer sees any benefits of the Ashtanga yoga practice.  Of course, all these are my own thoughts and interpretations and I could be misinterpreting and misrepresenting her entirely.