April 13, 2015

My Ashtanga Yoga Love Story.

Yoga, Authors Own

Ashtanga Yoga has taught me about love—how to truly love myself, those around me and to love life in general.  I can’t imagine my life without it.

Ashtanga Yoga has the reputation of being a physical, difficult and sometimes elitist practice.  I always secretly envied those who practiced Ashtanga yoga—the “Ashtangis” who I would admire from afar—those who just completed their Ashtanga practice.

Their red faces and sweat drenched clothes proved how hard they worked, but they all seemed so happy and energized.  I wanted to have a practice like that, to work that hard, to be that happy.  I was like a freshman in high school wanting to be as cool and popular as the seniors.

I finally built up the courage to try an Ashtanga Yoga beginner class.  It was fucking hard.  I remember feeling weak, out of shape and having to stop and rest during some points.  The teacher never made me feel inadequate or like I didn’t belong.  In fact, I was completely inspired by her passion for the practice, which was evident as she described it as a “healing” practice and her supportive and confident teaching approach.

I left the class feeling completely spent, face flushed, clothes drenched but energized at the same time. I was hooked.

Attending class two to three days a week, I was feeling somewhat confident as an “Ashtangi.” I then had to build up a whole new level of courage when I took the step to join my local studio’s Morning Mysore Club, a group of dedicated students who practiced between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.

I was excited at the thought of practicing yoga in the early mornings since it is so energizing, but I was nervous and apprehensive about my first class.  It required me to wake up at 4 a.m. (rather than go to bed at 4 a.m). It required me to walk into a room of unknown students and an unknown teacher who had a reputation of being “hard.” But the hardest part was taking that first step.

The Mysore room soon felt like home.  I was transforming on the deepest levels possible.  Practicing Mysore-style Ashtanga Yoga 6 days a week (as traditionally prescribed) requires the cultivation of dedication, determination, devotion, discipline and patience—all qualities my life was generally missing.

Developing these qualities through a consistent practice guided me to a place of love.  I leave practice every day loving myself and who I am becoming.



Relephant Reads:

Why I Practice Ashtanga Yoga.


Author: Brandi Braun

Editor; Renee Jahnke

Image: Author’s Own



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Brandi Braun