Thursday, September 25, 2008

Birthdays and Ashtanga

My birthday was last week the 17th and I think something was in the air because a lot of things started to bubble up in my head. Last year I made a list on the site 43 Things, and one of them was to learn the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series.  I have been attempting to practice yoga for many years but I was never really at a physical or mental place to really move forward with the practice. I was a gymnast in high school so a lot of the asanas that might be new to people, headstands, handstands, backward rolls and backbends I knew I could do, I just was afraid to attempt them because I was really out of touch with my body for awhile. Well, this spring I took a workshop with Lino Miele, where I went through every asana(posture) in the Primary Series and when I left the workshop I felt so content and happy for most of the weekend it was almost unbelievable. However, since then I just kept putting off going through the series again because they are very, very rigorous and I knew I had to be in the right frame of mind. Well, I took a Primary series class at YogaView this past Tuesday night, where Bill Shapleigh lead us through the entire series. Now I of course did not accomplish every single posture but I got through the whole thing again and was so happy when I was done. I left thinking how yoga is really a part of my life and of how I am so happy that I have my body back again and that I am moving forward mentally and physically. It all goes back to Pakistan last summer as I was struggling up the glacier and I realized, we all have a choice physically as we get older, to take the path of giving in to age and saying I'm too old, I can't do it, or to take the path of opening new pathways in our body, and actually improving physically with age. After the Tim Miller workshop, a couple of weeks ago and seeing Lino in the spring it just showed me it is entirely possible to improve your strength and flexibility as you get older. I left the class Tuesday night mentally and spiritually in such a great place, I realized the more yoga becomes more important mentally and spiritually to me, the more I actually see physical improvements when I practice.  There are people out there who live and breath chi, like Steve Ilg and his focus of Wholistic Fitness. I just feel very lucky that we have such a great yoga community in Chicago, and that Yoga View exists, and that for me I have to make my emotional and spiritual well being the number one priority which for me means getting to yoga twice a week whether it be the incredible Paul Weiss, BIll Shapleigh or Tom Quinn. But because of yoga I am back to doing cartwheels and handstands and handstands into bridges, all of which I thought I would never be able to do again. With all the people I hear complaining about their health, I feel really lucky to feel so vibrant!!! My plan for the week is to go to Tom Quinn's ashtanga class on Saturday morning at 8am......

Namaste
                       JB

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