I used to do Ashtanga

Hello, long lost readers. After a…I have no idea how long hiatus from helping Steve write this blog, I’m back.

There has been a perfect storm of To Do lists, legal documents, and needy young writing students in my life that directly translated into a complete lack of writing inspiration: No blog posts, no poetry, barely a coherent sentence composed in emails. Steve has been diligently holding up the posts, and his practice.

I was able to do neither.

On the up side, my practice, or lack thereof, inspired a return post.

There have been a pretty solid number of incidents of asana interrupted in my time practicing Ashtanga: sickness, surgery, closed shalas, etc. But this was the first time I felt disconnected from the practice, the first time I could have practiced, but didn’t.

Exhaustion. Too many essays to read. Waiting for return phone calls. What have you. I didn’t practice because I couldn’t focus. And I felt practice without focus was no practice at all. So whenever I would have a clear moment to practice, I would think, Yeah, I used to do Ashtanga. But that’s not happening right now. And I would pass.

Is this true? Possibly. I’m not sure now. But in the midst of it all, that’s what I believed, and that perception of the practice—as only real when the practitioner is fully present—kept me from the practice itself.

Now, I’ve returned to it. Those of you who have had long gaps in your practice can probably testify in agreement with what I’m about to say: It feels like coming home.

A glad awakening.
A glad awakening.

Some soreness, some rust; but from ekam to savasana, there was a sense of relief, and a feeling of joy on my return.

This was really a little shocking to me. I was expecting a transition period, adjustment. Some awkwardness. But no.

So it occurred to me that perhaps my grateful return was so smooth, so familiar, precisely because I chose not to practice when I couldn’t be fully present, so that when I could, the breath returned to greet me, to welcome me back.

Years ago I had a writing instructor who told me that the first rule of writing isn’t “write what you know,” but is instead, “respect the work.” You have to recognize the intention behind execution in writing, but also when you’re not doing the mental labor required to pull it off. I think I may have found a new arena for that old lesson.

Posted (happily) by Bobbie


Published by


Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

4 thoughts on “I used to do Ashtanga”

  1. I love this post! It is so honest and guilt-free about taking some time away from the practice. Happy return…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s