What is this practice for you?

Hi all,

So 3 responses have come through so far in answer to “What is this practice for you? Why do you show up on the mat, daily? How does it affect or hold a space in your life?”. Reading them, I was touched, tickled, inspired and I realized, whether or not these thoughts end up in the calendar*, that this would be a powerful conversation to have here on in community. So, in that spirit, the below:


* Using quotes from the community would require that there probably be at least 12 pithy quotes that are unique enough from each other to carry 12 months. So, please know we’re in a creative process and there are no guarantees what the final product will be. For now, if inspired, just share what is in you. Thanks.

8/27 Addendum: We’ve decided to accept submissions (deadline 9/9/06) in answer to the above from ashtangi/nis outside the YiY community as well, just to have those quotes as options, so please feel free to pipe in even if you’re not a YiYer. Thanks!


Why yoga? Answer: Advancing decrepitude.


There are so many reasons why I practice Ashtanga…

I practice because it is incredibly difficult and completely absorbing. I find that the intense concentration required in practice clears my head of all the chatter, and I find I’ve gone long stretches of time when I haven’t had a thought. That’s such a gift.

I practice because somehow I meet myself there, get connected to who I really am, and wonderfully let go of the worry and hyper-vigilance that
have dogged me for as long as I can remember. I am deeply, deeply soothed by the movement and the rhythmic breathing required to practice well.

I think that achievement-oriented people are drawn to Ashtanga. And that seems like such a contradiction to the spirit of yoga, which is somehow about letting go, easing off, finding balance. And yet it is the striving and achievement that allows me to reach the state of letting go. A death struggle with the ego, I suppose.

What’s amazing to me is that as I enter the studio I instantly feel surrounded by this caring energy. I barely know my fellow yogis at the studio and yet feel that I do know them, and they know me. They understand my struggles on the mat, share the humor in it, know why I’m here. They are my friends.

There are so many days that I’ve dreaded practice. It’s just plain hard and requires so much of me. I’ve described it as climbing
a mountain at the beginning of my day. Then after the fourth or fifth Suryanamaskara I know why I’m there. It’s my time. Time to be with myself,
care for myself, challenge myself, celebrate myself, forgive myself.

In practice, I have learned many many things that I couldn’t begin to effectively describe. How to manage intensity, who I am when I’m frightened, how to truly be in the moment. And so much more.

I don’t feel like this has done justice to the reasons why I practice. I’ve done my best, but words fail me.



Yoga practice makes me more aware of what is going in my mind that day and how balanced and centered I am that day.
Yoga practice helps me become more centered and balanced: you just can’t hold certain physical poses without balancing your mind at the same time=) Yoga is a reflection of my life at that moment. Each day is different from another on that same old mat.

I think the fact that ashtanga practice is always the same, on the same mat, helps us realize more all the things that are going on in our body and mind all the time. Since the practice itself or the mat does not change, it is the different and forever-changing circumstances in our lives that makes each practice unique.


7 thoughts on “What is this practice for you?

  1. aatheashtangi

    Antonia here you go:
    “What is this practice for you?”
    In the time that I have practiced ashtanga, I have felt a natural progression toward purity, innocence, and tenderness. My heart has become open,quieting the noise and distraction of my ego-identity, and paving a path of self-acceptance.
    “Why do you show up on the mat, daily?”
    The more I practice, the more I find myself seeking a sense of connectedness….a connection with something greater than myself and also humbles my existence.
    With light and love,

  2. Karen K.

    The more I practice, the more I discover…the more I discover, the more I want to practice…so I practice and all should be coming.

  3. Laurel

    One morning while setting up chai in the outer room, I paused to hear the sounds of our practice before opening to curtain.
    There are sights in that room to see even with drishti softly in place. People moving up, moving down. Without seeing them, I heard the sounds of people slowly taking up the space that was previously occupied only by the air that now surrounded them and that they then took in as sustaining breath.
    I heard the air in that room softly buffeted, gently nudged and lovingly drank in.
    Something deep and old inside me said, that is where I want to be, with those people, with that air, in that room.
    And I opened the curtain.

  4. wiseorchid

    other days, the soft animal of me comes to rest in itself and there’s this loveliness there. and i am in tears because i did not know she was so lovely, even though she always was.

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