March 25, 2014 § 3 Comments

At some point in the past few weeks I reached a tipping point in the consumption and immersion of Ashtanga-related content, conversation and thoughts. It’s probably been in the works for a while but almost overnight, it seemed, I started feeling nauseated at yet another: Yoga selfie/ Conference Notes report/ blog post about the ‘right’ way to do this practice, and so on. As this gained momentum, I encountered a few splatters of Ashtanga dogmatism in real life which was enough to leave me really really sick of this parade and the questioning, analyzing, turf-staking, polarizing, soapbox pedantism of the online Ashtanga discourse. Perhaps I’ve just moved on from this medium. I hardly talk about the specifics of my practice here anymore anyway, because it just feels redundant. More and more the practice for me is not about the externals but on the internals: the vrttis, the breath, their complex dance and how it shapes my life and relationships. It is a stage of experience too dense and baggage-laden to render legible on a screen, for 21st-century attention spans. Heck, even I don’t have the patience to try to sift through all of it.

I need to step away from Ashtanga in social media (to start, at least), save for a handful of content from individuals I respect and trust. Mental hygiene practice, more important now than its ever been. Will I write here again? Highly possible. When? I don’t know. Developments that will most likely resurrect this blog from dormancy: another trip to India, finding a really good Teacher, spending a significant amount of time with said Teacher. As for everything else, it really doesn’t matter. There are many many other Ashtanga blogs out there who will provide a steady stream of content of asana how-tos, Mysore 101 adulations (both the style and the city) and a regurgitation of the rules that some folks love to cling on to.

You will never find it here. Have a good practice, whatever it looks like, on any given day. Until next time.


§ 3 Responses to Enough

  • Nuno says:

    Hi. I am sorry for the way you feel now. You are right, ashtanga sometimes gets very intense and sometimes we need a break. I suffered with the same dilemma, because the practice was not supporting me, instead making my anxiety worse (i am an anxious person) with lot of obsessiveness about the practice itself and how to improve on it. I arrived at the conclusion that I have to think by myself and what it is best for me. Listen and respect other opinions but in the end the decision is mine, and most important filter what other people say, know their reasons. This includes all the ashtanga yoga teachers and other people as well, yogis or not. Because I love ashtanga I persisted with the practice and after many trial and error, I found the right rhythm for me. Right now the practice is supporting me, but I had to ask for help and started therapy because of my anxiety. I wanted to quit ashtanga but with the help of therapy I used it as a tool for helping to overcome my anxiety. I think dogmas exist in every yoga school or religious traditions, even in science and in a secular context. Since we could not run from it, the challenge is to learn how to live with it.

    • D says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience and chiming in. I can totally see how this practice can aggravate those tendencies we want to overcome! Like aggression, striving, anxiety, etc. I’m glad you’ve found resolution in balancing external input vs direct experience in the practice, especially with regards to your anxiety. I have a tendency towards excessive obedience and rule-following so learning how not to take ‘dictates’ too seriously is always a process.

      • Nuno says:

        Talking about rules, I have the same problem, and ashtanga has a lot of rules, so for people with this predisposition the situation could worsen while practicing ashtanga. This could seem counterproductive but breaking some of the rules could have a positive effect, for example, I do not stop at a given posture, I practice on moon days (adapting the rest days to my schedule), practice at evenings and sometimes I even practice with music even thought I find this a little bit distracting. I noticed that nothing bad happens if I break these rules, for the contrary, it is liberating and even can challenge my rules book!

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