Below is a letter from Susan Kohart, our Ashtanga Mama. She teaches a very challenging practice within such a safe and caring environment. Two weeks ago she led an “Ashtanga Curious” workshop and she sent this out to everyone who attended. I thought it was so lovely that we needed to share. If you are Ashtanga Curious or just want to know more about Susan, read on…
The physical drew me in, from always being involved in movement through dance, I needed a new modality to keep moving that would provide more healing and less pounding. Looking back and having not danced for 12 years, I see now that I’m achieving the same thing- complete absorption in the NOW. My experience becomes heightened, more sacred & spiritual when I am able to use the techniques to quiet the mind and just be free to express and explore within the form that I inhabit. When I allow myself to get out of my way, I can be with whatever comes up…the highs, the lows and everywhere in between with a greater calm and acceptance of, “well that is what is here now.”
This practice teaches me to surrender my expectations and desires. It encourages me to ask why I practice and to seek practice as a modality to support my life in flowing more peacefully and joyfully. If I’m using my practice to torture myself in trying to fit a mold of making perfect shapes, I’m encouraging more suffering. When I can catch myself getting attached to just the physical and shape making, or find my mind making opinions and judgements, I can bring myself back. I can realize that this practice gives me techniques to get back to studying myself, learning my ways of being, and it ultimately gives me the encouragement to fall in love with who I am and the very moment in front of me. So, it isn’t always perfect and that’s why it is practice…”Practice and all is coming” is what Pattabi Jois said. One interpretation of this statement that has been shared by others that resonates with me is that life is coming at us so our practice will help us better navigate all that life brings our way.
Whether I’m practicing at home by myself, in the Mysore room with Maryanne or in a group led class, there are benefits to each. My home practice allows me great quiet and exploration. If I lose motivation, need encouragement, an outside perspective, direction, or community I can seek it through working with Maryanne and being with others in the Mysore room or in a guided class. There is something magical when multiple people get together to practice synchronized breath and movement- we unite together, sharing our energies, raising our vibrations and become one!
The light in me honors the light in you. May our practice connect us with this light so we may share it with all who we encounter!
Thank you for your time,