The Ashtangi Spectrum

Read on if you are not fed up with how I use this blog as my confessional. Ashtangis are travelers. They travel far and often. We travel to learn more yoga, we travel to gain perspective, we travel because we enjoy it, and many of my fellow Ashtangis travel for business as part of how they earn their livelihood. My friend Laura Shaw Feit who is a graphic designer was able to document the Ashtangi travel bug in her runways poster entitled Just Practice. These people roll their mats and step on them in tiny hotel rooms, laundry rooms, and narrow hallways. Me? I roll it out when I travel to see family & friends, and while doing yoga tourism. I do pretty well when I go to Maine in the summer, but send me for almost three weeks vacation through Spain and France, while watching the World Cup on European time, and all bets are off. Day one, no problem. Rolled the rug I bought and ditched it for the carpet but I did my practice. That was three Sundays ago. I ditched my routine for Campari and sodas while watching the 6 and 10 PM matches when possible. That meant that my bedtime was way past midnight every day. The next morning nothing was more delightful than having a cortado or two and roscones with my daughter while in Spain and cafe au lait with hot croissants slathered in apricot preserves and bloomy Saint Felicien cheese while in France. Apricots are in season this time of year and my host Nadine made those preserves as a welcome gift. Our hosts own a vineyard in Estagel, and they host wine tasting tours that include an afternoon fete after touring the vineyard. Since we were staying in a part of the house where the feast takes place, we were always invited. The tours are organized by restaurant owners, butchers, and food purveyors from Toulouse, so you can imagine how we scored in the foodie department. I also bummed a cigarette the night Brasil stole the game from Colombia and decided to keep on going every evening after that. So yeah, about 16 days of no practice. This morning I did not reach a single bind. Not even Mari A, but I finished my practice. I also will mention that not a single body part ached or hurt during the entire time I ditched practice, I slept late and I slept well (no sulfites in EU wine), but you know what? if you practice Ashtanga for long enough you realize that you don’t do it to feel terrific or pain free. Something always hurts. You don’t do it for the man arms or the perky butt, at some point nothing perks up without additional help. You don’t do it because it settles your mind, just notice how our mind rambles on and on about when to do asana, how to eat, sleep and prep for it. You do it because you are in love. You are in love for the long run even if you falter. Corinthians 13:4-8 comes to mind. “Love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud….”

8 thoughts on “The Ashtangi Spectrum

  1. There’s something about Europe that is really not conducive to the Ashtanga practice at all. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway whenever I’m in France 😉 You look like you’re having a wonderful time with family – isn’t that the most important though?

    • Haha, yes! I find it easier when there is a shala to go visit. I was just reading your blog and for me the teacher holds space for me in a way I cannot seem to consecrate for my self on a regular basis yet. There were two shalas in Barcelona but I was still sporting that rash and by the time I crossed the border I was using the yoga rug as a beach towel. So fun sharing the matches with you online D!

      • That’s what I love the most about the World Cup – connecting with friends across time and space! Vamos Argentina 😉

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