If you have been following my blog, you have probably noticed that I have developed a real LOVE (or obsession) with Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga has changed the way I practice yoga, and as a result, has changed my life. My intuition was screaming at me to explore this love for Asthanga, so I did, and earlier this month, I completed a 40 hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with David Swenson.
If you have no idea who David Swenson is, please do yourself a favor and google him. He is an internationally known, incredibly intelligent yoga teacher, and is one of the first American students to practice Ashtanga Yoga. His teacher was the the one and only, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois.
Most people say that Pattabhi Jois (his students called him Guruji) is the person responsible for popularizing Ashtanga Yoga for what it is today. His is THE Guru. My teacher, David Swenson, began studying with Guruji in 1975 and studied with him until his death in 2009. If there is someone that you want to study Ashtanga Yoga with, it's David Swenson.
Guruji is famous for saying lots of great quotes about yoga...
"Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory."
"Body is not stiff, mind is stiff."
"Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus."
But my absolute favorite Pattabhi Jois quote is...
Do your practice and all is coming.
If you follow me on facebook or instagram, or simply just follow my blog, you may already know that this is one of my favorite yoga quotes -- I've even written an entire blog post dedicated to this quote. This post is also dedicated to this quote, but with a different perspective.
David Swenson mentioned this quote during the training and asked the class to share our opinions about what the quote means. My hand shot up in the air to share my opinion and I said, "it means do your practice with commitment and dedication and the poses will eventually come." A few other people agreed and some shared other thoughts.
David said that all of our interpretations were great, but he knew the literal translation of this famous Pattabhi Jois quote because he knew Guruji so well.
He said that what Guruji really meant when he said these words is, "do your practice because all is coming."
All meaning: the good, the bad, the ugly -- really, whatever life decides to hand to us.
Do your practice because yoga prepares us for whatever happens in life.
Our yoga practice teaches us how to be patient. Our yoga practice teaches us how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Our yoga practice teaches us how to surrender to the present moment.
And perhaps the most important lesson of them all: our yoga practice teaches us how to BREATHE.
Think about your life, especially when times are difficult and you are feeling stressed, upset, or nervous. The advice you are likely to receive from a friend about whatever problem you have is "take a deep breath" or "just breathe for a minute".
Breathe. Such a simple concept, yet such a complicated lesson.
Do your practice because all is coming.
Allow your yoga practice to prepare you for whatever comes your way.
Practice every day, and the lessons will come. And really, whatever gets you onto your mat everyday, that's a good enough reason to practice yoga. Don't worry so much about the deep philosophical reasons behind the yoga practice. If they don't mean anything to you today, perhaps they will mean something to you tomorrow.
Whatever you do in life, yoga shows you how to do it better.
I hope to see you soon on the mat.
P.S. David Sweson and his wife, Shelley Washington, were the NICEST people! I had a really wonderful week studying with them. If you ever get a chance to train with David, DO IT. Learn from him. I promise, you won't regret it.