In preparation for teacher's training later this year I decided that I would venture out of the comfort zone of my usual yoga practice and try something different. For awhile now I have been rotating between the same two studios with the occasional home practice when my schedule just won't stretch anymore to make it out of the house. Don't get me wrong I love my studios and the teachers I have gravitated to. Not to mention, since my 30 day challenge a few months back, I have managed to maintain a fairly regular practice with this routine. However with any routine one can find themselves in a "rut", even with yoga.
In the spirit of changing things up I decided to attend an Ashtanga class yesterday at my studio. In the past I have tried a couple of Ashtanga classes but definitely not enough to consider myself versed in the practice. Also I had never practiced with the teacher leading this particular class. My first thoughts were that this would be a refreshing change.
The afternoon unfortunately did not start off the way I had hoped. To begin with I was on nights and had an awful sleep (nothing new on the first night shift). Then organizing dinner for the kids prior to class was not as smooth as it could be, which lead to me getting to the studio with just enough time to change and get into the hot room. Not good. Shortly after settling down on my mat in walks Eric, our instructor for the next 75 minutes. Eric seemed pleasant enough with a gentle confidence. I immediately had a good feeling about this class. Sigh...how soon things can change.
Well Eric is clearly a man of action because he wasted no time. He started the class with a serious of vinyasana flows holding each posture for a few seconds. Not only were we holding the postures but working through them in reverse order as well. Needless to say within the first ten minutes of class my body was screaming WTH! This is where the phrase "be careful what you ask for" comes in handy. Change is what I was looking for and it is definitely what I got. Being a very determined individual I forged ahead. Funny thing about yoga is that it is never without its lessons. As I bent, stretched and twisted trying to keep up with the class I felt my ego grow louder and my self confidence shrink. It was like I was attempting yoga for the first time. I welcomed the familiar poses when they came in and attempt to try and gain some sort of confidence that I knew what I was doing. However by the 105th vinyasana flow (a slight exaggeration), even downward dog felt foreign.
Eric being the skilled and thoughtful teacher came by my mat and gentle adjusted and encouraged whenever he could. Each time he came by we shared a chuckled. At that point it was good that I could laugh at my awkwardness as there was not much else I could do. During the class when I was not stumbling through the postures I watched the array of students who were in the class. They ranged in all different ages. It was easy to tell that some of them had taken Eric's class before. I am sure there were some who were stumbling their way through the same as I but my ego never focused on those individuals.
As the class neared the end I was so happy that I made it through. It may not have been pretty but I completed the class. As I thankfully lay there in savansa I decided to concentrate on the positives. I was looking for a shake up to my routine and I found it. This class not only shook up my routine but it brought me back to when I first started yoga and the vulnerability one feels in a class where there are people more experienced than them. It's good every so often to humbly be reminded that we are all constantly learning.
One of my favourite quotes is "it's what you learn after you know it all that counts." This definitely was the case when it came to my ashtanga class with Eric, and I am grateful for the lesson. Sore muscles and all!