I originally started with Ashtanga yoga.
I diligently practiced out of David Swenson’s book until I knew the basics, and then went on a 200 hour TTC that was solely Ashtanga. When I got there, I had no idea that you did five of Sun A, and five of Sun B, or that you did vinyasas between sets and sides. Despite being thoroughly convinced I was ripping muscles away from my bones for the entire month, I was completely hooked and spent a year practicing the primary series six days a week, sometimes twice a day.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I dabbled in other types of yoga as time went on, going to an assortment of Kundalini, Power, Bikram, Anusara, Yin, Flow, you name it. It was then that I realized what had really drawn me to Ashtanga.
Now, I know there are some hardcore Ashtangis out there who believe it to be the only true way to practice, and I do not buy into that. For me, it was the fact that you practice alone, that it encourages you to establish a dedicated self-practice. And why is this good for me personally? Not because of anything cool or super-fantastically yogic, no, but because I am uber-competitive—or at least I used to be—I am learning to take it out of my practice and keep it on the running track. You see, I used to be a competitive marathon runner and triathlete. In the past, being competitive was vital to being successful. People may disagree, but in my opinion, if you are playing a sport where there are winners and losers or positions such as first, second, third, etc., then competitiveness is necessary.
Yoga…not so much.
When I started, there was no one to tell me how much I sucked—not that anyone would, but if you have ever been a beginner in a class full of advanced yogis, then your mind seems to do that for you. When I started classes, I could not seem to stop flicking my eyes around as we were led into more advanced postures—who was better than me? Who was worse? Was she able to do splits/forearm stand/firefly, and so on and so forth.
Anyway, a woman at the studio I had been practicing at has a beautiful practice, and as I watched her, I felt that familiar glimmer of competitiveness. I stopped going to classes and got my behind on to my mat each day and did the primary series. I reminded myself of how I got started, and why I fell in love with yoga. I had wanted a break from the aggression of intensive running training, but even more, because I had wanted to stop comparing myself to others, their times, their gait, their ranking, their medals.
Yoga gave me freedom from competition.
And so, I shall remain in my little self-practice bubble until that little devil on my shoulder learns to keep his mouth shut about anyone in the Yoga class (including me)—unless he is reminding me of my ujjayi breath!
Rose Wyatt is an avid runner, mountain biker, skier, swimmer…basically anything sporting, so yoga was not something that she was initially drawn to. However, Ashtanga resonated with her, and since she started a little over a year ago, she has made it her mission to learn how to integrate yoga into all her other sporting endeavours. She is a 500 hour RYT and teaching is something that she is passionate about, hoping that her dynamic classes will resonate with athletes and help bring more of them into the world of yoga. Along with yoga and sports, travel, writing, cooking, reading and music are all things that she loves to do. Being 24, and having only discovered yoga about 18 months ago, she knows that she still has a lot to learn, but fortunately that just makes her happy!
Prepared by Soumyajeet Chattaraj/Edited by Tanya L. Markul
Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook.