I took a solid 6 weeks off from writing on the blog. On purpose. Because I haven’t had time to be here. Or, I guess I should say that it hasn’t been a priority. But don’t you worry, I’ve been busy writing in my journals. All 23 of them. LOL That “might” be a stretch, but those of you who journal will totally get that. I have a journal for everything. My mind is a busy place. For the past 6 weeks I have been practicing Ashtanga Yoga in Wilmington. If you know me you KNOW because I will take any opportunity I can to talk about it. I wrote about my plan to check it out in my last post. Right here. I really wasn’t sure I would love it. But, because I am me, there was a 50/50 chance. Love or hate. No in between. As it turns out, I can add it to the list of things I LOVE. Isn’t it great how the things we need come to us at the perfect time. If we are open and paying attention. How could I not love a tradition that honors the natural cycles of the moon as well as the natural cycles women’s bodies? In Ashtanga there is no practice on full moon and new moon days. And then there’s “Lady’s Holiday.” Not what I would have called it, but definitely a time that I don’t want to be on my mat twisting deeply and locking my mula bandha. I had an aversion to taking this holiday for about two minutes. Because it seemed like taking the easy out. Which is weird because I constantly tell my students to honor their bodies. I have a yoga period story that I won’t share here, but it helped me in making the decision to take the days off. That and a 5 am text to my new teacher asking what he recommended in that situation. That wasn’t awkward at all. 😂 For the record, he recommended that I honor my body and take the time off. I am learning to do just that. Slowly. I thought I had the honoring my body and being gentle with myself part down, but the things that go on in my head at times, make it clear to me that I’m not there yet. It’s also obvious to me that I have come so far. I’m not my own worst enemy anymore. Not on a daily basis anyway. I’m learning to step onto my mat and let go of expectations. Some days my body pleasantly surprises me and other days it’s like WTF? I’m not the strongest person in the shala where I practice. I’m not the “best” if there is such a thing. (*hint* There’s not such a thing) Some days I fall out of headstand. Headstand. Really. I haven’t yet completely learned the sequence in such a way that I don’t have to stop and think about it. I still forget poses in the sequence. I don’t have the opening and closing chants memorized yet. I haven’t yet learned all of the Sanskrit names of the poses. My brain is still busy for at least the first half of my practice. I can’t fully do some of the poses. But none of that matters. I have found a practice for ME. I get to be a beginner. I get to learn and grow. I get to show up for me. I come home to myself every time I step on my mat. I am learning the importance of slow and steady and I am reminded of progress not perfection every single time I enter the shala door. And I am grateful. My teacher is one of only two authorized Ashtanga teachers in all of North Carolina. His shala is only 45 minutes away. How awesome is that? Today I woke up at 4:30 so I could practice in the shala at 6:30. It was 1000 degrees and so humid that the concrete floor was slick with condensation. I loved every minute of “trying not to die.” I can do hard things. I can do the hard things until they become easier. On the mat and off of the mat. Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira sukham asanam – Asana is steady and comfortable. Learning to find steadiness and ease in the challenging poses on my mat is where it all starts. I can take that out into the world and into my life finding steadiness and ease in the most challenging times. Life is FULL of challenging situations. Life is a beautiful practice. Yoga teaches me so much.