The question was posed to various levels of students, with a wide age range and length of time taking practice of the Ashtanga Method, “What keeps you coming back to the mat?” It was a wonderful time for each to reflect and we are sharing here for inspiration to others to start the journey and/or forge ahead with faith and trust in the practice and the teachings.
DISCIPLINE, DETERMINATION, DEDICATION & DEVOTION
My Ashtanga practice holds me accountable, and its keep me from becoming lazy or complacent on and off the mat. If I can make up an excuse for not getting up early, or skipping my practice, or even half-assing my practice, well then I can make up an excuse for anything else. My early morning 90-minute practice is such a small chunk of my day… and my existence really… so if I can create the strength and discipline to get it out of the way first thing in the morning, then that sets me up for the rest of the day, rest of the week. For me, it means that I can create the strength and discipline in other areas of my life — like my relationships, my career and goals, and my future. So again, my early-morning, sometimes incredibly difficult and uncomfortable holds me accountable to being the best version of me. – Loretta Turner
When the alarm goes off in the dark, when my bones are heavy and the bed is soft and warm, I ask myself this very question, and I don’t have an answer, but then I’m out of bed and the gears are in motion and then I’m on the mat… why? The community, the physicality, the challenge, the calm, the strength it brings, even the pain, wanting to know how to better confront pain, limitations, my body. The learning, most of all the learning. – Joy Parisi
My practice is the one place in my life where I consistently feel strong, stable and confident, even when I’m not always able to feel that way during the rest of my day. Some days, when I’m not feeling particularly physically strong on the mat, I still walk away feeling mentally and spiritually energized. It is a place for me to face myself with zero judgment and zero anxiety. I come as I am, let go of all the dialogue, and can just “be” as I breathe and work through the sequence. – Liz Moulthroup
Through the highs and the lows, the aches and pains, the joys and frustrations, I have never walked out of the Shala sorry that I practiced that day. Ashtanga revealed the person that I was always meant to be. Namaste. – Joe Freiligh
Of course the practice is challenging, physically and is a commitment that becomes a mind game every morning when I wake up. For a while I struggled getting out of bed to just get to practice, I then would suffer with the guilt of not practicing. Eventually, it become a daily ritual, and it didn’t feel “right” if I didn’t practice. My mood would change completely, and I would feel more irritable and impatient, and my body would feel the consequences of not practicing. I keep coming back for the community, for the energy of the room and the presence of my teacher. It’s a part of my daily routine and feels weird if I don’t practice. – Michelle Pitzer