In 1991, I took my first yoga class because of this statement: “The age you start practicing yoga will be the age you forever stay at. ” Just like that, yoga has been with me for almost a quarter of a century. It led me into my body, breath, mind, intelligence, and joy. Layer by layer of awareness grew through self-observation, self-adjustment, and self-evolution. When we first come to this world, we experience the joy of having people and things around us, but as we come to understand everything we have is just an illusion of our desires, we then learn to detach and let go, just like an Asana practice.
Ashtanga is the angel of my life. On the mat, I’m able to fully concentrate and feel the five elements of the universe (earth, water, fire, air and ether) working in my body. As I focus on the flow of each breath (air), the flow awakens the Mula Bandha (the mother earth). It is like a small flame, ignited by the breath, heats up the body (fire). This heated energy activates the muscles and soaks through like flowing water (water). As the muscular energy supports the stability of the bone structure (earth), the body then becomes light with ease (ether). When we experience each practice time and time again, smoothly conquering ignorance and fear, we make the difficult easy, turn the easy to simple, and take the practice to a state of ease and comfort (Sthira sukham asana). Isn’t this the attitude we want for life? Isn’t life’s ups and downs are as such? Again and again, by connecting in the silent space, withdrawing the senses to focus on the present, we allow this inner universe through the flow of the breath transform like one lifetime after another, as we consciously observe the patterns accumulated through the lifetimes and let them go again and again. The Ashtanga practice dissolves all the unhappiness in the past, allowing me to be stronger, more accepting and loving to others and myself. I have such respect and love for it!
Mysore is a set of practices that adjusts with one’s own physical rhythm, condition and age. Someone had once asked Guruji, Pattabhi Jois, what kind of person is not suitable to this practice. His answer was a lazy person. I invite you to come to the Mysore practice. We have had ten years of Mysore experience at SPACE. In these ten years, it had allowed many people to live with more health and ease, and even smoothly go through menopause. We have supported and helped each other in here and became friends in life. Let us practice with diligence and consistency.
With the changes of time, space and karma, my feeling towards Ashtanga has this kind of change: Asana is Asana, Asana is not Asana, Asana still is Asana. Its greatness and depth is not something I can grasp in the first ten years of the practice. Let us go towards another ten years together.