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Yoga Anonymous (May 2015)

How did my adventure start with yoga? Was I lonely? Was I lost? Or maybe, as always, I wanted try something different?

I was never a wild child, I never caused too big troubles as a kid and I was always a loyal teenager to my parents. I always went to school, church and tennis classes (even if I hated them). I was a simple (maybe even boring) teenager, with lots of good friends around me.

I didn’t look for yoga to lose weight, I usually run when I want to lose weight (but I almost never run). I did not have low self-esteem, my dad always says I chose beautiful wife because I wanted have beautiful kids (sometimes my dad will now say “I just have beautiful wife and kids that look like me!”) I never saw a hot-looking yogi doing yoga on the beach who inspired me. I have never had a yogi boyfriend or friend…

My adventure with yoga started when I met my teacher…

Like yesterday I remember my first yoga class… advanced drop-in Friday class! Till now, I have no idea how I survived that. I was tired, sweated, my legs were like bricks, I just wanted that class to end and never came back.  I was thinking “God what am I doing here?” But when led class finished, and when I was lying down in Savasana, Sarah put her hand on my shoulders and said “well done”…. I suddenly felt so proud and happy and more proud. And I wanted practice again.

I signed up for beginner’s course with Sarah. After first (but really my second) class I still did not like Astanga. It was hard and rigorous… Sarah did not allowed us to drink water, and I cannot remember  having breaks between asanas. Yoga was so difficult but teacher was so warm, so friendly… it was almost like a magic around her.

I completed that course and was not coming to studio for a long, long time. But I was thinking about yoga, about that feeling that I was missing something. So I started coming for drop-in Monday classes (for long time I was not coming on Friday advanced ones), never morning self-practice. 6.30am was too big a challenge for me… was too lazy? No. I think I was not ready yet. My lifestyle back then was a “night life” (pubs, clubs, alcohol, food at 4am). That was my life –for some people very shallow, but for me (still) the best time of my life.

Monday and Friday drop-in classes became my routine… Friday classes those which I hated so much become my favourite, they were challenging and I was improving. My teacher started offering self-practice class instead of led (And I did not like that idea AT ALL.) I was annoyed: “Why students raising their hands for self-practice?” “Why is she giving the options?” “It is Friday, it is led class Sarah!!! And after a while I was hoping it was gonna be Friday afternoon self-practice…

One Sunday evening I decided to set my alarm for 5.15am and go to 6.30 Monday Mysore class. I was so scared, shy, not confident on the mat  I was thinking what  am I going for? I am not a yogi, I drink and I smoke… Sarah made me feel so welcome. She was so kind and helpful, she gave me lots of attention and encouraged me in everything.. she made me feel like I belonged there.

And I started coming in the morning, only two, three times a week and I was walking away for 3 or 4 months…and I kept coming back. When I was back in the studio, I thought, “what am I doing here? It’s early, it’s cold, I should be in bed.. yoga does not get any easier”. And I was kept walking  away from yoga for another 2,3 months and again I was back … for about 3 years I was on and off with Astanga. Like an unsure person.

And on top of that I broke my wrist and could not practise for about 6 months and had to start from the beginning. My yoga colleages progressed and Sarah moved me   to beginning postures. But whenever I was on the mat, my teacher was beside me.

When I practised, I kept asking myself “do I really like yoga or am I tring to like it?”  And one day about 3 years ago I stopped questionning myself. I decided that I obviously want to do it. I want to practise, I am happy here at Brighton Natural Health Centre. That moment is very often the best 2 hours of my day.

And now here I am struggling with my back bend, still struggling with Primary Series, not always allowed to practise Second Series. Here I am, leaving my friends in the pub and going home first. Here I am, trying to swap and shuffle working hours so that I can be on my mat with my practice… with my yoga.

That morning practice is hard and yoga is not easy for me. But is rewarding. I am not flexible and my body, even if it’s strong, is very tight and very often “doesn’t let go”. I am not patient person, but thanks to my teacher, I am patient on the mat. She says it’s all coming, and I believe her.

Why yoga? Yoga does not show me a better way of life, yoga shows me how to get through it. Life is like asana… you do not like, but you have to breathe into it and  get through  it.  You have to stay and “be” and when it’s finished it is gonna be the prize… another asana easier- or more likely harder…

Astanga has taught me how to live in peace, oh God I am so far away from that. I am the most confused person in the world — I can get angry in a second and explode like a bomb — but Astanga calms me down. After practising 4 or 5 days in a row, I have no spare energy  to get angry or upset. When I practise I feel proud of myself of what I  have achieved on the mat. Each time after practice, I choose to be happy because I have many reasons to be.

Did Astanga change my life? No and yes. I don’t know. Yoga did not make me a better person but made me a better person then I was yesterday.I did not lose my friends… I just found out who my real friends are. Did yoga help me to find myself? Not sure, but definitely yoga made me realise who I don’t want to be.

Yoga made me believe  more in myself, get a job I always wanted but never thought I can get. I can do all these twisting asanas, which my brother and sisters think are “sick”..  so I can do anything! Yoga made me like myself for what is good  in me… when I am there in morning, I smile when my heart want to smile. At6.30am on the mat is me –I am real me, stubborn and motivated, calm and full of hope!

Would I get there without my teacher (the woman who shows me the way but do not choose for me, the woman who does not force me). Would I get there without Sarah — who led me, who stops me who push me? I doubt it.

I found my yoga as I found my teacher. I trust her more then I trust myself when I am on the mat.  My colleague asked me what style of yoga is the best and I always say “find yourself a teacher, and yoga will find you”.

I am not the best Astangi in that studio.I still  like to party, I like my drink, I like staying up late, I swear sometimes and I get angry (“world” upsetting me and people annoy me sometimes).  So I do not really know why it is good for you to practise yoga. Perhaps because when you practise you smile more often, you love with passion, you forgive without wonder, you care  instinctively, and sometimes  you do not give a damn.

So set up your alarm and keep doing yoga.

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Mysore style astanga self-practice

Mon-Fri 6.15-9am (last entry 7.30am)
Sat 7.30am start (led class last Saturday of each month)

Led Classes

Monday 6pm, Wednesday 6pm & Thursday evenings 7.30pm
Friday evenings 6pm