Friday, August 20, 2010

Knowing When to Eat the Cake...

Ashtanga yoga practice seems to have quietly, when I wasn't looking, rearranged my life. Others have noticed that it has happened to them as well. Slowly, habits change almost imperceptibly. Diet changes and sleeping patterns change. These might seem like obvious changes made to accommodate a strong physical practice....but lately I've noticed 2 new layers emerging.

First, I notice that while I'm inclined to stay with the patterns of diet and sleep that provide the most energy for morning practice, I'm not attached to them. Most of the time I'd rather minimize sugar and go to sleep early...but sometimes I'd really rather eat the cake with a complete acceptance of the after-effects of cake. If I was looking in from the perspective of someone who had never done this practice, I might expect it to, at some point, squash any desire for the "complete experience of cake" (literally and metaphorically speaking), but that is not what has happened. Instead, practice is slowly providing the space to see what I really want in a particular moment. It's increasing engagement with life (cake and all!) rather than avoidance of it.

Secondly, ...and I wonder if this is the influence of second series... I notice changes in relationship habits. New habits in relationship are emerging in the same way as lazy habits of choosing food without awareness were quietly subverted by practice and emerged as new habits of choosing food that is sustaining. As a self-described introvert (time to set the label aside perhaps?) habits in relating to the people who daily cross my path have, until recently, been sliding down a well-worn groove probably first carved out in my pre-teen years. Slowly, practice subverts what I thought I knew about myself. Layers peel off one by one and I am surprised by moments of openness and contentment.


  1. Ha!, this is amazing, I feel the same way, a complete transformation. Loved the post

  2. Thanks Claudia!

    Practice never stops surprising me! A night out dancing with friends for a friends birthday inspired the thoughts. It's rare that I go out as most of the time I'd rather be well-rested for morning practice. There was a good bit of teasing as the birthday girl is one of my students and another student was out with us as well. I think as Ashtangis we have good role models for living with moderation and celebrating life at the same time. I notice all the long-time pracitioners have lifestyles that support practice, but they're not militant about it. :)