I spent years dwelling on weather to start a blog or not. The main reason for this is the fact that there is sooooo much information out there we are just about to drown in it. The secondary main reason is that there is soooo much misinformation out there that we might actually succeed in drowning.
For a long time I was unwilling to risk being a part of the confusion. In a radicalist way one would expect people are capable to filter that information yet we all know that it is not so simple. I have found my self often carried away by a wave or another of borrowed beliefs until I realized I have no experience or deep rooted wisdom to support that.
There are also those who believe that no harm can come out of that and I must contradict here, as not all misinformation is unintentional or benevolent and I myself have found me drifting miles away from the simplest path, floating on a wave of misinformed naivety fed by well researched and targeted psychological games generally oriented towards some sadly, material interest.
I have opened this blog at the repetitive insistence of my best friend, one that i highly regard and whom has often changed my course for the better trough his simple insights. He once said that I should think of those who carry similar histories and travel similar paths as mine and how they might find life-changing inspiration in my words of experience, just as I found comfort, encouragement and precious epiphanies in some other human words picked out of that ginormous pile, that made total and authentic sense to me and have in some way assisted my growth into the one i am today.
Long intro for a hot topic: what kind of yoga should one practice?
This question nearly broke my brain for a long time. Starting out my practice with a set of video downloads it was all so simple. I knew nothing about what yoga is but some very different from the norm type of exercise. I did what the lady and guy on the video said and felt awesome right away.
I can remember walking taller, almost floating above the ground and then progressively, in time, curiosity sneaked in. I started reading about it, researching it to discover this intricate system with branches so many that even to this day my mind simply refuses to keep up with all the flourishes of the so called “modern yoga”.
I won’t go into details and lists of the styles of yoga you can pick and choose from, there are plenty of resources online for you to brake your own brain into. Yet must tell my story as it might help you perhaps not go trough the anxieties and frustrations I did.
I was always the take stuff seriously or don’t take them at all kinda soul. After my first few asana practices I knew somehow in my depth that yoga is something I will be involved with for life, it took years to crystallize this into actual reality but I simply felt it was the key to everything important for me.
So then came all the yogis from all the different styles with all their convictions that they have it best figured out or at least theirs is just as good as any other. Then came all the criticism to different styles of yoga or overall to the domain of yoga.
As a result I simply enforced a habit within me I had already more then enough of: constant self-doubt, agony of though.
In a moment of clarity however I received this question: how did I begin this mess? And I remembered all the lightness and simplicity and it all came together: I started out with a quiet, opened mind, I started in simplicity and all the pain begun when I lost this feeling flying on the wings of other people’s expositions and opinions.
I decided to surrender and let life sort this one out and sooner then later it did. I stumbled into a studio based on a tradition that bore quotes such as “99% practice 1% theory”; “do your practice and all is coming” and faster then I could blink, I felt at home. There was no more bullshit, no more pretend enlightenment, no more bla bla.
I have discovered Ashtanga yoga and I am not here to say that this is your style of yoga but I am here to say that it is mine and I found it when I stopped frenetically looking for it, yet kept on craving it from the deepest spot of my being.
We all have different piles of memory in each and every cell of ours. Some of us as a result have become overly demanding on our selves, some the complete opposite, need strong arms to push us forward. Some are overly logical or overly dreamy. Based on these needs we best surround our selves with things and people that can help us correct those trails we find deviant or deficient within us.
My intuition says that that is what makes a certain style of yoga fit or unfit for us. I needed structure, discipline, experience and found it plentiful in the style of yoga I so committedly practice. I needed depth and simple reasoning and the origin, science and philosophy of Ashtanga yoga was just that. I’m a practical, pragmatic chick and need experiential, reasonable disciplines to follow.
The only way to discover this though is if one takes a light hearten journey of experience. Try out stuff on your own skin and make your own opinion about it based not only on how much you enjoyed that particular moment but also on what impact it has on you on the longer run. I have walked out of yoga classes before feeling floaty, almost high and realized that all it was really was an hour of hypnosis that once over, served no other purpose then marking one more thing I will not be doing again.
And this again is me. I walk a mountain upward. I expect no end to my journey yet I refuse to walk backwards so everything I do is a step up on the steep trail, a moment of growth, evolution or at least intended to.
When one is about to choose a path, a discipline it is always important to set your intention: what are you striving for? Why will you be practicing yoga. Is it simple physical improvement? Is it a journey of self-discovery? Is it devotion and embracing faith? Is it something greater then what you cold invoke in thoughts? Each of these questions will face you with a huge pile of styles and teachers.
And that is when you best be aware of your extraordinary power of discernment: experience stuff, not on Google, not at a guru’s mouth but in real life…that’s why you have a body, a functional physical form and an extremely powerful mind. Stop the “he says she says” religious approach. Trust your teacher but trust him trough the filter of your own potent power of thinking.
Our intellect was never meant to be a wasteful design meant to confuse and assimilate information on the raw as if it was true. It was built to think, to serve you. Close your eyes, observe your breath for a few minutes and then in the quiet of your mind experience the results of your attempts.
There is no good or bad yoga, there is no good or bad religion or science. There is just the one that serves your growth or hinders it and you are the only one with the power to decide. Take responsibility and roll out your mat more often then you open your search engine or philosophy commentaries.
If you read texts, read originals and try to build your own interpretation as it is at the moment. No one can raise your intelligence but your self.
I know we live in a strange world a world where responsibility is sold out for false security, where we expect fast, ready made solutions but that is not the way of Nature…and you are Nature! Nature is patient, thorough and self-reliant. She is a playful, self-confident artist.
Your yoga is within you and you will know without a word when that plug inside is being linked to the style of yoga you are best fit for. So keep trying and be alert, conscious and responsible. And last but not least: keep it simple!
My word of advice: you were born naked and that’s how you’ll go. That’s how most any yoga style today with any amount of authenticity is: simple, naked, raw and free. Whenever something seams complicated, shady, mystical and expensive (more then an average monthly membership)…you are most likely knocking on the wrong door.
And keep a light heart. We all stumble, we all make fools out of our selves or over-exalt over nothing from time to time. Learn to laugh over your trips and trops and walk with a straight back and open head and heart.
If you choose yoga as a lifestyle don’t forget, asana is but the tip of the iceberg. There is an entire moral and habitual structure to adhere to and that is nothing you will learn by wearing the latest yoga trend in the hippest studio. That is for you to discover trough diligent introspection and alert research.
Walk firm and travel light!