Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Astanga

The day flailed out of my control almost from the moment I woke up. Nothing unfolded as I expected. I planned to come home and head straight to the park to practice, but it clouded over and then work intervened. I had phone calls to make and emails to send. I took a break to start gathering camping equipment for my upcoming trip and the sun broke through. I headed to my neighbourhood park, the one closer to home, to practice.

I wasn't sure how it would go. This is a smaller park, more intimate, with more people around, including my neighbours and yoga students. Many of the kids know me because they've been in my classes. Last time I practised in that park, I was beseiged by small yogis and ended up abandoning the Primary Series in favour of handstands, cartwheels and fun arm balances.

Today was good. When I arrived, there were a few children on the playground and three little old ladies on a nearby bench. They sat peacefully side-by-side with their walkers carefully parked in front of them. They *loved* my sun salutations. Nothing like a friendly audience!

My main complaint is the ground - decades of pinecones from a nearby tree have collected over the years, creating hard, mean little lumps. I moved my mat several times but had no luck. Garba Pindasana hurts when you're rolling on small mountains! I managed to find a smooth spot for Sirsasana. I realised once again that attitude is 90% of a pose. Halfway through Sirsasana, doubt crept in: “I don't know if I can do this.” I firmed my resolve and reassured myself: “I *will* stay up. I *will* do halfbend, I'm strong in this pose.” And I was.

Savasana was incredible. I could totally get used to these loooonnnnnng Savasanas! I walked home just dripping with bliss.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's been exactly one month since my humble little blog leapt to sudden fame with its inclusion in a Yoga Journal article about yoga blogs. I haven't spoken of it since, but yes, I *did* get my paws on a copy of the August issue. I did my Happy Dance at the news stand as the proprietor looked on in amusement. I watched with amazement as my access stats spiked, with many new visitors.

The rush of newcomers has waned, but what gives me the most pleasure is the number of you who stuck around. I see you in my access stats, in my RSS subscriptions and followers list. I'm glad you're here. I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to leave thoughtful comments. I hope that you've found something of value here.

I didn't start this blog thinking that anyone would be interested in reading it. It started as an experiment. What would happen if I practised Astanga Yoga, a style I professed to hate? Would my practice be more meaningful if I wrote about it? Would I find a voice to describe my experiences on the mat? What could I learn? I never imagined that the greatest outcome of this experiment would be connection and community.

It reminds me a bit of an experience I had in university. I lived in residence and at first, I felt a bit shy and kept my door closed when I was studying in the evening. One night, I decided to see what would happen if I left my door open. Something did happen - I stared connecting with other people!

I appreciate the Internet as a tool and a resource. YouTube is unbearably nifty. I love the fact that I can find any song lyric by typing in a fragment. Online maps amaze me. I could go on and on...

But the secret ingredient that has made the Internet pure magic for me is the sense of community I've found and the people I've discovered - and I'm still discovering.


6 comments:

KarenP said...

I'm here still. I found you by googling yoga blogs and THEN found the list from Yoga Journal, even though I am a subscriber there.
I'm enjoying your blog very much. Thank you for it.

Liz said...

I love your blog, it has really inspired me to give the primary series a go. Please keep up the good work!

Kaivalya said...

@Karen
Hi Karen. It's interesting to learn how you landed here, funny that you found me on the YJ list via Google! Thanks for sticking around.

@Liz
Thanks for commenting, Liz. Let me know how it goes with the Primary Series!

Michelle said...

I guess I can now say "I knew you when..." Congratulations on your new found fame. Your blog is so good. You deserve it.
Thanks also for your advice on my blog. I knew you'd know the answers.

Mother Hen, Funky Chicken said...

Hi Kaivalya,

I also found out about your blog from the yoga journal article. It is a blog jungle out there and I am much appreciative that Yoga Journal has taken the time to do the research for me.

I find follow the blogs of Yogi/ini's provides me with the inspiration to maintain my (almost but really not quite) daily practice.

Particularly enjoyed your description of the battle with the pine cones ;O)

Kaivalya said...

@Michelle
Yup! You and I go way back. You're one of my original 5 readers! :-) Glad the advice was helpful. Let me know how it goes.

@Mother Hen
Absolutely love your alias! I read yoga blogs for inspiration too. On days when I don't feel like practising, it helps to know that other people are practising (and struggling).