My senses, my thoughts, my focus perpetually going out, getting lost and absorbed by the world that surrounds me, busy with it’s bright lights and attractive distractions.
My mind churns; searching like a dolphin in the murky depths, sending out sonar waves. I am always searching for something, anything, to reassure me that I am not alone in the vast ocean.
When I was little I used to get lost in department stores on purpose.
Slipping under the clothing that hung on round racks in the ladies apparel section, I was off on an adventure to explore their secret inner sanctums. I would make my way into the center, pushing past the wall of fabric, and find myself held softly on all sides in a little round patch of light at the center. It was perfect. A quiet, soft space where I could just be.
I have heard my teacher say, “Ashtanga is an inherently dynamic practice,” many times before. I think I finally understand what he means and why I am studying this dynamism with such care.
As I go deeper I realize that this rabbit’s hole is never-ending. Clarifying the vinyasa positions, memorizing with my very muscles, bones and connective tissue the state of the asana, landing directly in that “immovable spot,” learning to let my breath be my guide, to redirect the flow of energy within and to focus my gaze.
I am starting to see the inner world, catching elusive glimpses of the multitudes within me.
Dynamism. A sort of friction created through opposite actions. Movement and vigor followed by near-perfect stillness, reaching up and out while grounding down into the earth. Effort coupled with ease. One pushes against the other and creates heat. Friction leads to focus. Focus creates awareness. Awareness leads to receptivity. Through receptivity action begins, slowly but surely, to become spontaneous.
As I empty out, I can feel it: I am never alone. How could I be? The practice becomes my song, and I sing for myself. I am the performer, yes, but I am also the audience. Complete. I am learning to appreciate and enjoy myself.
The structure of this practice once seemed intimidating, overwhelming and maybe even a little pointless. Limiting in its specificity and repetition. But it is in these layers and layers of details, of repetition and specificity, that I am finding a way to burn off the layers and layers of dead skin that surround me and keep me from finding my way inside. Into myself.
It is in these details that I am finding God.
Meghan Kirk walked into her first Mysore practice room by accident, having missed an earlier class. It was the happiest accident of her life. She was awed by the focused energy in the room, the sounds of breath and the shapes the practitioners made with their bodies. She came back the next day, and the day after that.
A year-and-a half later, Meghan attended her first practice at The Ashtanga Yoga School of Philadelphia. Immediately, she knew there was something unique about the space, the other students and her new teacher, David Garrigues. Although she has struggled with doubt for most of her life, her experiences at AYSP have made her a true believer in the power of Ashtanga and her place within the practice.
In 2012, she began apprenticing with David and is continually amazed by how much she learns every day. When not practicing, assisting David or teaching evening classes, Meghan works part-time as a Prevention Educator, teaching anti-violence programs to middle school children. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Kirk, and their two miscreant dogs, Puck and Scrappy. Life is very good.
Editor: Thaddeus Haas
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