I reflect on my Ashtanga yoga path during the last 11 years.....
How did all beginn? It's not so easy to reconstruct everything.
1. 31. March 2003:
I lost a most awful job. It was a beautiful spring day, I stood in front of the door to walk around. I stopped, I had no destination. Go new ways, I thought. I walked down another street and found a yoga studio. I saw a picture of a woman in the window. She had a leg behind her head. I loved it. It was Madonna, how I learned later. It was the Jivamukti yoga studio that I found. I checked the schedule and I saw that they offered classes very day also in the morning.
From that day on I went to a class every day. Soon I decided to go to the Ashtanga yoga classes. First I missed the neck massages that we got in other classes, yet I liked the challenge of the asanas.
What was offered in these Ashtanga yoga classes: It usually was a led class of half primary. I have never heard about Mysore classes. A friend told me about it a few years later. She used to be a yoga teacher, too that time back.
Via Internet I found out more about Ashtanga yoga. I also found other bloggers. I bought the book by David Swenson and tought myself the rest of the first series. I remember that I traveled to the US with E and that I participated in Ashtanga yoga classes. I didn't know that one had to role in garba pindasana. One teacher once said to me: But Ursula, these are the basics. I thought: You have no clue about the situation in Munich.
A friend told me that my first teacher also offered Mysore classes. This must have been in 2005. From the first time on I practiced full primary in those classes. The first part I learned during led classes, the second part was self-tought.
I don't know exactly when it was, but it must have been in 2006 when I joind the Mysore class. Soon I had a job again. In the morning I practiced ob my own. On Thursday evening I had a Mysore class. This was so for years.
A few months before going to India I was shown the first asanas of second series.
My last asana before I left the first party was: laghu vajrasana.
2. August/September 2008 I was in India/Gokulam to practice in the shala with Saraswathi.
This trip changed my practice. Even though I couldn't drop back in urdhva dhanurasana Saraswathi showed me pashasana.
Back home I found again a job that ended in Sept 2009.
3. A new Ashtanga yoga teacher moved to Munich in Nov 2009. He offered Mysore classes in the morning at 9am 3 times a week. It was not possible to have a job and to go to the yoga classes. I gave yoga priority. It was the first time that I had more Mysore classes than home practices. My learning curve went upwards. My goal was to learn second series. I practiced Advanced A till durvasana at the end of the year 2013. I was not able to do kapotasana, who cares? I was not able to do pincha mayurasana, who cares? We worked with straps and blocks. More and more it was a mixture of different yoga styles. I learned all the leg behind head poses. My practice became fluent. I leaped ahead.
If I wouldn't have learned second series I weren't able to do supta kurmasana of the first series.
Yet the back bending asanas suffered. To work with a strap around my legs was not the best idea.
Last asana in 2013: durvasana (of third series).
I also tried asanas of series to come and integrated them. I moved to a free style Ashtanga practice.
The time from 2009 till 2013 changed my whole life as I stopped working in companies. I didn't like to miss these excellent morning Mysore classes. Yet after all these years I yearned again for a more traditional teaching. With all the blocks and straps that the yoginis used, there was a lot of disquit during class. For me a yoga practice is a concentration exercise. I often returned to a home practice.
4. A new Ashtanga yoga teacher moved to Munich in 2013. From the first class on I realized that I can learn a lot from him. Almost all poses were taken away from me. I work on kapotasana now, very seriously. I also work on the other back bending asanas. I get closer and closer to stand up from urdhva dhanurasana. There is no single practice where I don't get an adjustment here. We are tought the series in the traditional way. I so love it.
From laghu vajrasna (2009) to durvasana (2013), back to bakasana A (2014)......Oh my
I know I have to work on the asanas that I'm not able to do. I don't want to betray myself. Most people like to do what they are able to do. Who likes to work on his/her weaknesses? Not many people. Yet if one does it one day the practice is balanced.
Sometimes I'm frustrated. So many years of practicing yoga and I'm still not able to have a perfect vinyasa. I learn to look at the weak points and to be a bit more realistic. Ashtanga yoga makes modest. During all the last years I learned not to give up so fast. So I keep going.......
It's Sunday and I'll step on the mat. My yoga week begins. To practice is everything, I try to convince myself. I'm curious what my body will be able to do in this life time.