Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Yoga Marga

I started practicing yoga regularly almost 10 years ago. I joined a gym near my office and would go after work to avoid sitting in rush hour traffic. I would take a vinyasa yoga class once a week with a newly certified hair dresser turned yoga instructor. Rather quickly I realized that once a week wasn't enough and I started taking classes with different instructors at different locations. My practice quickly improved and for a while I was satisfied. It eventually occurred to me in my gym yoga classes that the classes were always taught to the lowest common denominator, generally those people that were new to yoga and less flexible.

I slowly grew frustrated with my gym classes and I decided to join a dedicated yoga studio (it seemed like the logical next step). For the most part, I always too vinyasa flow classes but every once in a while I would take a bikram class, ashtanga or iyengar class but I always found myself back at my vinyasa flow classes.

When I moved abroad, unfortunately, I didn't practice much yoga even though my body longed for it. Oddly enough it was during that time that I got interested in mysore style yoga classes. Even though I didn't take any mysore classes while living abroad the seeds were planted.

Almost a year ago I moved back to NYC and I tracked down my favorite vinyasa flow instructor and I immediately joined the studio where he was teaching. Taking his class after an almost 2 year hiatus from yoga was humbling to say the least and I remember longing for my more flexible 20something body. Despite constantly feeling constantly achy and sore I quickly ramped up to a 4 day a week practice. After 6 months, I had to move apartments and I found myself living only 7 blocks from my yoga studio. Even though I loved my vinyasa flow instructor I decided that it was time to harvest those mysore seeds that were planted a while back and to check out what this mysore thing was all about.

In October of last year I started my ashtanga journey and I haven't looked back. I started out practicing 3-4 days per week because that's all that my hamstrings could handle but I eventually worked my way up to a 5-6 day a week practice. I regularly wake up feeling like what I imagine an 80 year old woman would but that hasn't stopped me. After 3 months of intense practice I was finally given the last pose of the primary series and on Christmas Eve I practiced my first assisted drop back. These days I'm working on refining my practice, building strength and opening up my notoriously tight hamstrings.

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