1. It’s quiet.
I don’t have to listen to anyone else’s taste in music, and more importantly I don’t have to hear a teacher tell me “to let my muscles fall away from the bone like well cooked lamb.” Seriously? F*ck off.
2. I can move to my own breath.
I’m a long breather, I’ll admit it. By the time everyone else is in downward facing down, I’m jumping back into chaturanga. ‘Nuff said.
3. It’s empowering.
The student is given responsibility for her own practice. You commit the sequence to memory. Your cue to move on to the next posture comes from your breath. The practice becomes a part of you. You become your own teacher in a sense.
4. You can do your practice at home.
See number three. No more excuses to skip your practice because you can’t make it to the studio.
5. It’s the opposite of pretentious.
I stopped attending group classes about six months ago, and I thought I needed a break from yoga. I even thought that yoga and I might be over for good. But then a miracle happened, I started practicing yoga in my living room. Gasp, I know. That’s when I realized that I didn’t need a break from yoga at all. I needed a break from what the classes I was attending had become, an extravagant outward show.
Now, when I show up to practice in a group I can expect to see a lot of people practicing, a few dogs roaming around the space and not much else. In fact, it’s almost like everyone just showed up to do their home practice together, in one giant living room. Perfect.
6. It embraces tradition.
Yoga feels new again. I left my first Mysore practice with many more questions than answers.
I just started, do I really need to rest on a moon day on Thursday? No dinner? Did Pattabhi Jois really say no coffee, no prana? Yoga has a rich history that we often neglect for the fear of offending or isolating potential students. If you don’t want to be exposed to anything deeper than physical postures, do pilates.
I have been practicing at Yogamoves studio in Sydney for about three weeks and it already feels like home. I’m addressed by name and my teacher knows my practice inside and out. Even the assistant teachers know my name, and the instructions I have been given. Several of the other students have introduced themselves to me after class. The concept of a “kula” is beginning to make sense.
I don’t mean this in some sort of, “live your best life” kind of way. What I mean is that it’s crystal clear what matters here, and it’s not the clothes, the celebrity teacher or the chick in the front row with the amazing ass. What matters is the practice. Period.
9. It’s inspiring.
Every morning I witness ordinary people achieve extraordinary things in their practice. The most inspiring part of all, is that I know they all started in the same place and put in a tremendous amount of work to get where they are. No line jumping here. They have earned their practice.
10. My teacher – Eileen Hall.
Eileen has been teaching yoga in Sydney for over 30 years and is one of Ashtanga’s most respected teachers. What is clear about Eileen when you begin to practice with her is that she is stern yet kind, and genuinely cares about each and every one of her students. She is a true teacher and student of yoga.
* You can’t buy anything. Nope, nothing. Well you can pay for your membership by dropping some cash into a carved wooden box. It’s a safe haven from consumerism.
* It’s dark. Finally, someone gets that florescent lights, spandex tights and wide legged forward fold don’t mix.
Cora is an international yoga teacher and recent convert to Ashtanga yoga. She has been studying and practicing yoga for the last 10 years in America, Canada and now Australia. Her classes will invite you to find stillness and silence through long holds and breath work. Cora has a passion for connecting yoga and mental health and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Sydney Australia, and can be found at www.everydayzen.com.au
Editor: Thaddeus Haas
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