Once more! If anyone you know might want to attend an evening Mysore class --- please reply to this email, or to the Facebook post! It would most likely be Mon-Wed-Thu, 5-7pm at Yoyoyogi.
This is mainly for people who cannot make early morning practice, and so in order to cultivate an evening group, evening Mysore would feature its own fee.
I'm getting a sense there's interest --- but please, if you haven't let me know, now's the time to speak up!
Can I do Ashtanga and [insert sport]? Sports usually mentioned: running, cycling, lifting weights, Crossfit, aerial arts, jiu jitsu, etc etc.
I think often in many cases, what we mean when we say, "Can I do Ashtanga" is: Can I get more flexible and stronger? Can I master the poses and the transitions?
Personally, I was curious to see what, how, and if I could expand my sense of competence through more complicated postures and transitions.
However, I've come to appreciate that's a tricky perspective to maintain over time. On the upside, an abiding curiosity, a "rage to mastery," and a growing sense of physical competence --- dynamism and passion --- are terrific incentives to practice.
The downside (there's always a cost) is that that perspective can reduce practice to a Pokemon hunt to collect postures. It also reinforces the idea that the poses can be perfected, or mastered, as if there were a finish line to cross and trophy to hoist upon ‘completion.'
The good news/bad news combo --- there are no finish lines. There’s only more. It's difficult but more rewarding to see Ashtanga as a process or system, one that is maintained or tended to, like a fire. From a systemic view (not a series of goals), Ashtanga practice is breath, posture/vinyasa, and looking-point. This system is then run through a circuit of set posture sequences.
To me, this is what Guruji (P. Jois) meant when he used to say, "Anyone can do Ashtanga." The forms and shapes of the series direct, guide, and channel the practice of the tristana.
Meanwhile, Ashtanga practice forces us to ask deeper, more difficult questions, ones that do not present clear answers; rather, they present questions that must be continually asked, with the understanding that it is the honest asking of questions, rather than finality of answers, that is part of the point.
What does this mean for Olympic weightlifting and Ashtanga? It means, in my opinion, go ahead and get after it! You will find, as I did, that experience will force a question, and you'll have to decide in which direction to move.
For example, training for a triathlon and Ashtanga six days a week exhausts you, and you have significant problems getting out of bed. Which endeavor do you dial back? How do you dial it back? There's no right answer and there's no final answer, rather it is the engagement with the question that is an important part of the practice.
Those thresholds, when our routines break, are important inflection points. All I can hope to remind you is that a 30-minute practice --- sun salutations, standing poses, sit down, lie down (lie down 10 minutes!) --- this is unequivocally Ashtanga, too!
The Summer Membership Sale is upon us! Save yourself $400 on a year of unlimited yoga at Portland Ashtanga Yoga! It is $1,499 for one year of yoga! That is cash or check only --- the sale runs July 1 through July 15!
This Sunday: Chapter One of the Bhagavad Gita, 9:30-10 a.m. We’ll undertake a chapter (maybe two) each Sunday --- come and check it out! If you want to follow along, I’m using J. A. B. van Buitenen’s translation. Or bring your favorite own copy and we can compare!
David Swenson is set to visit Portland during an incredible seven sessions during the weekend of September 15-17. We’re again hosted by Yoga on Yamhill, and the event is currently more than half full. Sign up now if you have even the slightest interest, because it will fill up.
Okay, that's it for this June! We're set to baste this weekend --- I believe I saw 100 degrees for Saturday and Sunday? --- so please stay cool, and I hope to see you on your mat soon!
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.