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Ashtanga Yoga~Our daily medicine

As some of my students are discovering and have mentioned to me, practicing Ashtanga yoga is like a form of medicine. The postures are not ends in themselves, but amazing tools to help our mind, body and soul stay in balance, building mental and physical strength, keeping us happy and healthy (and I now no longer get ill or hayfever since practicing Ashtanga yoga)

However, to be absolutely honest, quite often I lack motivation for my daily practice which, like life, can sometimes feel effortless and light but also at times, will feel challenging and heavy, and it can take a huge amount of effort to get on the mat....believe it or not!.....especially at this time of year when there’s many other things I’d rather be doing, mainly eating! (Another great reason to practice! It helps keep me at a healthy weight when I love to eat!!) But I know that’s when I need it most....using the practice as a tool to help cope with the chaos of life......

And now it’s something I’ve been doing for so long, it’s something I just do, a routine, like cleaning my teeth every day.....I know it’s good for me, my daily medicine....I don’t always feel hugely enthusiastic about getting on my mat but, after all this time of listening to my body, I’ve built a practice that’s sustainable and supportive, rather than intense and demanding (not doing every single vinyasa for instance) not expecting anything, just taking it as it comes, and so I get on the mat each day as a place of sanctuary and peace.....and it always, always makes me feel better!

And once we’ve practiced ashtanga yoga for a while, we know how good we feel at the end of a practice. Our body feels open, energized and lighter....and so does our mind. Even though some postures might have some level of discomfort associated with them, we learn how to stay with it and find comfort with the discomfort. And then we can apply this off the mat. We are able to connect with the inner resilience that we build up through practice, enabling us to meet challenging situations with strength. And, as we become more adaptable to any feeling that comes from the practice we become more able to adapt ourselves to any changes that happen in life.

And that is the real goal of the practice, to acknowledge that everything in life is temporary, helping us to find peace in a chaotic world. Soothing the fluctuations of the mind instead of being at the mercy of every little thing that arises in life....So we can face the challenges of life with peace, strength and dignity....

Here's to another year of Ashtanga! Our daily medicine...




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