Confession: I’m Afraid of Commitment.

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I’m a loyal person as far as other people go.

No commitment issues there.

But with yoga, I’ve never been able to commit to one particular style or lineage. I’m kind of a yoga…okay, I’m going to go with “mutt” and not for any feminist reasons around the term, but “slut” to me implies sloppy, and that’s just not me. But mixed? Definitely.

I used to be a serial Groupon yoga girl, until I learned as a massage therapist just how little Groupon actually pays people. And I have one studio near me that I love (and found that one of our wonderful elephants owns it!) but don’t visit often enough. I have a pretty small window weekdays that I like to use for my practice, and it’s tough to find the class I want that fits.

Then I’ve done the fill-in-the-blank yoga thing. Acroyoga. I’ve gone to Restorative classes. Kundalini. Vinyasa flavor-of-the-week.

And I’ve done the “yoga at the gym” thing, with mixed results. I know some wonderful yoga teachers who teach at gyms. And I’ve also been to some yoga classes at gyms where I wanted to adjust the instructor’s alignment.

Maybe it’s not that I’m a yoga mutt; maybe I’m more of a yoga Goldilocks.

I don’t want it too hot. I want it at a certain time of the morning. I want a strong, well led class that will support my home practice. I want it to challenge me—physically and mentally. I think I need to do what my Ashtangi friends have been telling me for years and join them.

But, then, that would probably require me to do the grown up thing and commit.

Well Ashtangi brothers and sisters? Do I give it a go?

If you’ve always been curious or intimidated or wondered about how to start an Ashtanga practice, Claudia Azul Altucher has some great suggestions (which I asked her about a year ago and then continued to slut it up all over the place.)

So this morning’s practice? The primary series, naturally. It really makes me feel like I’ve earned my Savasana time (see above). I don’t recommend interrupting your beautiful rest with Instagramming.

I do recommend pairing it with this:

What was your practice like today? Are you doing #yogaeverydamnday this month? Check back for my updates and follow along on Twitter @kate_bartolotta and Pinterest.

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

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anonymous Jul 12, 2013 11:37pm

Thanks for posting I love Radio Head but I never heard this song! Also I havent listened to them for a while.

anonymous Mar 9, 2013 1:50pm

[…] year, I am excited about a variety of classes. For strengthening my Ashtanga practice, I’m looking forward to David Swenson’s All Aboard the Ashtanga Train. For my […]

anonymous Feb 6, 2013 9:01am

[…] sealed and delivered. Call it commitment […]

anonymous Jan 22, 2013 10:22pm

[…] though, as I’ve said, I’m afraid of commitment, I am taking a weekly led Primary Series to enhance my practice. Sure, I’m still going to have […]

anonymous Jan 12, 2013 11:22am

[…] since I’ve decided to commit to Ashtanga, I thought it would be appropriate to get traditional and do a castor oil bath today. […]

anonymous Jan 11, 2013 5:20pm

[…] Confession: I’m Afraid of Commitment. ( […]

anonymous Jan 11, 2013 4:30pm

And so at the end of any debate, as is so often true… we find we are fighting for the same truth. Hope to cross paths at some point friend!

anonymous Jan 11, 2013 1:16pm

Oh… I just can't resist replying.. yoga debates just tickle me pink.

I agree with you about "not bringing the practice down to them instead of attempting to achieve the standards of the practice." I don't propose doing only what feels good. In fact, I propose the exact opposite. Speaking from a scientific and an ayurvedic perspective it is known that we tend to as humans chase that which comes naturally to us. Tons of books have been written on this very topic. This is why (to be general) so many type A's are drawn to power style practices. What we often need is the opposite of what we are drawn to do. The answer (in my opinion) lies in finding the balance of meeting yourself where you are at, and then knowing when to push past, and when to pull back. It is in meeting ashtanga with restorative, or ashtanga with iyengar. Bottom line – you have to journey inside and face what's within. On that my friend, we agree.

As for the exercise science comment, I wholely disagree. The merger of western and yogic sciences is a hopeful future in my book. l love to collaborate with scientists, they are the great searchers of the world. Yogis of old scripture were scientists too, and often scoffed by society I might add. I have worked with several scientists of varying disciplines and keep an advisory board for my school. They are wonderful (well the ones that believe in yoga are). They question everything, and they hypothesize, and in doing such they must accept the idea that their theories can be wrong on a daily basis. It challenges my own notions of right or wrong as well – If that's not yogic I don't know what is.


    anonymous Jan 11, 2013 2:49pm

    Well, I can't say that I disagree with you too much on any of the above.

    Western science can be a wonderful enterprise to the degree that it operates within its epistemological confines, as you point out above. All too often, just as with anyone suffering the human condition, its proponents, practitioners and advocates can lack the humility which accompanies its proper functioning. But again, not much difference here with the yoga world either.

    As for "finding one's balance," I think one must rely on a experienced teacher/practitioner to avoid the pitfalls you point out. We are truly our own worst judges and this is recognized and dealt with in the yogic epistemology in its reliance and insistance on finding and following a "guru."

anonymous Jan 11, 2013 11:27am

[…] Practiced yoga. […]

anonymous Jan 10, 2013 6:07pm

Of course, the one small problem with being a "whore" is that you increase your chance of getting diseases. As Guruji use to say, "One doctor, healing coming. Many doctors, death coming." Or something along those lines.

    anonymous Jan 11, 2013 11:16am

    With all due respect my friend – to each their own. I have rehabbed enough bodies of people who are stuck in a system of doing the same thing day in and day out to feel differently (not just talking one particular style of yoga here – this applies to any modality like running, skiing, tennis, "whatever"). The truth is we are creatures of habit, and people hate change, hence why doing a repetitive form of movement is appealing – not to mention the mental benefits of that feeling of "meditation in motion" That said – ask any exercise scientist, continually, dynamically challenging the body is one of the best things you can do for it. If we believe that hatha yoga is a way to "bake the body" to prepare it for enlightenment, shouldn't we not get stuck in a rut?? Food for thought.

    I also want to add, I have a deep respect for the practice of Ashtanga, it's where my roots are, but no, I don't think it's an end all be all and *gasp* I disagree with Guruji.

      anonymous Jan 11, 2013 12:39pm

      Of course, each is entitled to their own, just as I am with my comments and you are with yours.

      As for your "rut," I don't find the real problem facing contemporary western culture, or any modern culture for that matter, is a lack of diversity. In fact, I would venture if you seriously look around what you'll find (that being the general "you" and obviously not you) is the majority of people spend the majority of their time doing little else than looking for sensory diversions and/or gratifications. It seems to me that many find the repetition of ashtanga problematic for the simple reason that it ultimately leaves you with no place to look but inside and that is simply too scary, or too much for many people. When the practice doesn't change, you have to.

      I don't say this to be judgmental and this is why it's great that there are so many paths available to differently suited individuals. I always encourage people to find the practice that fits them and if that practice is ashtanga to practice it in a way that suites their bodies. However, what I do find tiresome is the need of members in the yoga community to bring a practice down to them instead of attempting to achieve the standards of the practice as established by the tradition.

      And as for the exercise scientist, s/he is the last person I'm going to ask when it comes to my practice of yoga. Yoga is its own science and really, in my humble opinion, has little need of input from the western empirical epistemologies.

        anonymous Jan 13, 2013 9:24am

        This is a really good comment. In a sense, "bringing the practice down" is what has made it so popular. But i love the idea of moving towards it and cultivating a patience with slow, incremental progress toward an ideal, rather than just cutting certain poses out alltogether. Well articulated thoughts thaddeus

    Kate Bartolotta Jan 11, 2013 2:53pm

    "the one small problem with being a "whore" is that you increase your chance of getting diseases." omg hahahhaha! Point: Haas!

anonymous Jan 10, 2013 4:40pm

[…] Confession: I’m Afraid of Commitment. ( […]

anonymous Jan 10, 2013 4:23pm

Kate – I say be a yoga whore. You don't have to commit. Do what feels right that day. I cheat on my own methodology all the time and I encourage my teachers to do the same!! It makes us all better teachers and practitioners. It's what keeps Rasamaya evolving rather than being stagnant. If I don't push my own boundaries who will?

I don't believe in a one shoe fits all mentality. If you are practicing from an authentic place, well then that is good enough.


anonymous Jan 9, 2013 9:19pm

In my almost 20 years of doing yoga, i've tried just about every style i could possibly get access to. I mean it was required to try out all the styles that were offered at the yoga studio that i worked at for a few years, however I gotta say that I am one biased yogini. Ashtanga has been the practice that once I started I never looked back. It's like home to me and has been for the bulk of all my years in my asana practice. It's like when you mentioned that after a good primary series you really feel like you've earned your savasana. well I feel the same every time i complete whatever Ashtanga series i'm doing and lay on my back and let myself melt into the floor. it's one of the best feelings ever and I only get that level of savasana-ness with Ashtanga. And don't get me started on how awesome I find the actual flow of the asanas… the fabulously timed counter poses, the challenge in the vinyasas, the Ujjayi breath throughout… If I went on, this would surely become a love letter to my Ashtaga practice. Haha! So you see I'm heavily biased 😉 and hey that's just me. Although I would never miss an opportunity to try something new or something else, and often times when I don't have the time for a full series, I'll go right ahead and adjust it for whatever amount of time I do have. Even if that means just doing the sun salutations. I mean any yoga is better than no yoga right?

Commit to Ashtanga? I say give it a go, why not? If it turns out to be amazing then it's a win, if not then slutting it up yoga style will surely turn you onto a practice that you might be willing to commit to. Or having a diverse practice might very well be your practice. Like I said, isn't any yoga better than no yoga? Whatever works and gets you on the mat 🙂

Wishing you all the best Kate, much love!

    Kate Bartolotta Jan 11, 2013 2:52pm

    Love this & can't wait to read the full love letter to Ashtanga! And see you in a few weeks! xoxo

anonymous Jan 9, 2013 8:33pm

I think you're doing the right thing! Also remember that, as is true with any type of yoga, nobody's Ashtanga practice is like everyone else's! At the studio, I always feel the pressure to work my way through the whole primary series, to the best of my ability. But at home, it's a whole different thing! I've developed a "Malin series", which is 90% primary, 10% my favorite poses, a couple of extra counts here and there, sometimes a pause to get my dog away from my mat…!

Do what I do – continue your home practice and hit the studio now and then for some variation and to straighten yourself out a little! 🙂

    Kate Bartolotta Jan 9, 2013 8:47pm

    Yes! Next time I'm in the city, I am bringing my mat and am coming over for the Malin series.

anonymous Jan 9, 2013 8:24pm

Come to the dark side….The only thing to fear is what you'll find inside.

    Kate Bartolotta Jan 9, 2013 8:46pm

    hahahah!! Well Thad, since you've given in and tried skiing, I think I will give it a go.

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Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven.
She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds.
Kate’s books are now available on and Barnes &

She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives.

You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.