Saturday, February 27, 2010
Ashtanga Yoga with Bobbi Misiti
Last weekend I had the pleasure of exploring the Ashtanga Primary and Intermediate series with Bobbi Misiti at the Lewisburg Yoga Center, practicing the postures and the breath as they were intended by Pattabhi Jois to be practiced. I absorbed every moment -- traveling up and back between sides, getting into the pose without tallying, receiving the intuitive adjustments that only the skilled hands of a long-practicing yogi are able to give.
Over the years, I've subjected myself to much struggling in my relationship to Ashtanga. Part of me adores the practice and is continually amazed at its undeniable subtle power...the physicality, the focus both required by and produced by the practice, the repetition, the breath. The other part of me bristles with rebellion against the rigidity of Ashtanga. Why do we have to take the toe in utthita trikonasana? Why? My inner rule breaker is busting at the seams, silently screaming, Don't fence me in, Pattabhi Jois!
While the workshop did not offer any solace for me in this struggle, what it did do was confirm and further bolster my commitment to keep on keeping on, to rolling out the mat each day and stepping to the front of it. I understand that my continual questions, my inability to fully commit to a particular "angle," and my resistance to imposed rules are all facets of myself that I can safely explore through yoga, and I intend to do so.
I will nonetheless likely continue to do it in my own way, maybe binding in parsvakonasana (look out!) or playing with handstand rather than headstand during finishing sequence (the nerve!), I will nonetheless keep exploring this many-faceted jewel and linking my breath to my body with mindfulness and awe.
The fellow yogis and yoginis -- like Bobbi Misiti, and all my yoga friends poised on their mats in the room like pearls on a life string linking us together in our yoga journey -- they are the constant quiet reminders and the silent support offered through the presence of fellow seekers. It is in these moments of true union, of taking ourselves within through our practice, as well as connecting to one another through the vehicle of shared experience, blessed by the wisdom of countless generations before us, that we become transformed.