How long have you been practicing yoga?
– Over 10 years
What drew you to Mysore style Ashtanga?
– Curiosity about the lineage of yoga as well as the knowledge and training of my teachers Elizabeth Sitzler and Mary Flinn who learned from Sharath and Pattabhi Jois drew me to Mysore-style Ashtanga. There is something so magical and grounding to me about learning from teachers who learned from the originators of yoga. It’s less than 6 degrees of separation! To know, feel and understand that I am 1 degree from Sharath, 2 degrees from Pattabhi Jois and 3 from Krishnamacharya… I find that fascinating and powerful.
What keeps you coming back?
– The sense of peace, calm & structure – regardless of whatever else is happening in the movie of my life – and the parallels of being on the mat and “failing” as well as “succeeding” sometimes (and the insight into what those very definitions even are) – keep me coming back. And definitely Elizabeth’s knowledge – both the theory and especially practically – in my opinion are extraordinary. As a yoga teacher myself, I sometimes find it difficult to find teachers I feel so comfortable with. You can tell by Elizabeth’s cues (internally rotate your thigh, press down through your toes) that she embodies this knowledge – she doesn’t just “know” it. Huge difference. I trust her.
What has been the greatest challenge for you in transitioning to a Mysore style practice?
– At first I could not wrap my head around practicing yoga amidst others at my own pace. What? What does that look like? How does that work? I made it more complicated in my mind. It was not such a big deal once I finally dove in. Which is often the case in life, right?
What kinds of changes, if any, have you noticed since you started a Mysore practice?
– Now I crave ashtanga like I crave brushing my teeth or taking a shower. In the last month, I released pent up stagnation in my right side from decade-old injuries and my body feels freer, more open and lighter than ever before (so far). I look forward to unlocking more!
Favorite posture and why?
– I love the Marichiyasana series! I just do!! Maybe I will hate them some other time, ’cause that can be how this goes – in waves – but for now I look forward to them and feel so great after doing them. I think it has to do with how these postures open my shoulders and hips and absolutely wring out my 3rd chakra (our center of power) like a washcloth, and activate the root chakra (our sense of safety) so I don’t fall over. Great to take with me daily off the mat!
Least favorite posture and why?
– I find the ones I hate wind up being the ones I love later so let me see … I used to dread Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana but I’m getting over it.
How do you enjoy your rest day? Any guilty pleasures?
– On rest days I really enjoy the oil bath. Sometimes it’s a challenge to carve out the time and space to do it, but I am always so glad I did. My knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, hips, shoulders, hair and skin are saying thank you! Its a great balance to the asana all week. I also love great food and having lots of fun with and connecting with loved ones.
How do you hope to grow as a student and a person through practice?
– Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga will always have me as a student. There’s always another posture, a deeper expression – that’s the great news! This lifestyle informs my growth as a person, teacher, counselor, parent, friend, loved one, customer, client, you name it … in every way there’s always a deeper expression. I intend to practice Mysore-style Ashtanga until my final Savasana (in this lifetime).