The Ashtanga Yoga Method is believed to be one of the most difficult styles to practice. It is not just because it is physically demanding but because it also brings awareness to our emotional, mental and spiritual state and challenges us to grow in all areas of our life. The practice is a mirror to who are are. It is showing up to the mat daily and looking into that mirror and really understanding who you are. On a physical level, if you can’t touch your toes when you first start yoga, the chances of self growth with a daily practice is going to help you touch your toes rather than showing up occasionally or not at all. In this sense, you physically get to feel and see the benefits of committing to show up everyday for yourself.
The mental benefits are subtle but just as important and grand. If you are anything like me, being told to do something consistently and everyday is almost gut wrenching. I thrive off of spontaneity and freedom. Committing to consistently show up for myself everyday was really hard. I wasn’t sure I was capable of it because I had spread myself thin in life. But as I commonly have observed in most Ashtangis, I was determined. I was open to failing over and over again. I was open to improving slowly because there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And that light I reached was acceptance. The daily practice isn’t required to give yourself a hard time when you aren’t perfect. Because the next day is another day to try again. And it’s a process.
Surrendering to a daily Ashtanga practice will affect everyone in their own different and unique way. It may be simple and the challenges of the practice may lie elsewhere. If you are on the struggle bus, remember you are not alone. Strive to do your best to show up daily but accept that you are human, and it is okay to fall short. Simply recognize why you fall short, and if you want to change that, what can you shift in your life to grow? I wanted to create some consistency in my life, it took a mental shift to accept that I had been living without it. Creating a daily practice was going to be harder than me merely physically showing up. It would challenge me to change things in my life that held me back from reaching my potential.
What does a daily practice manifest for you? If you don’t have one, are you open to trying over and over again to commit to yourself? Be curious and present in your practice. It can grow and it can shift. It takes practice.