Day 60

Style: Ashtanga
Teacher: Sharath Rangaswamy (DVD)
Studio: Home Practice

"Do your practice and all is coming." Tonight I've decided to expand on my home practice, setting sail with a traditional Ashtanga sequence. Sharath Rangaswamy is the grandson of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the founder of the Ashtanga method. He is often described as the most advanced Ashtanga yoga practitioner in the world today, and is now the director of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India.

Sliding the disc into my laptop I'm transported into a quaint, minimalist room, listening to Sharath start things off with the traditional Ashtanga opening chant. This is designed to honor the wisdom of the teachers who have passed down the ancient yoga traditions, helping to mark a division between your everyday activities and the personal voyage you are about to embark on. I'm at home in my dimly lit room, settling back into my own world. The atmosphere is beginning to take on a life of its own, leaving me with the impression of studying in a remote Indian temple, practicing under the direct guidance of the master himself. The evening is unfolding in a natural extension of last night, moving me in and out of the poses with gently focused attention and the calming flow of the Ujjayi breath. Again I'm noticing the chemistry of my mind find a balance, an equilibrium with the Universe around me. It doesn't take long until that familiar heat begins to build inside me once more.

The sequence is the classic, traditional primary series taught as it would be in Mysore. Sharath uses Sanskrit terminology, calling each pose by its original name, not providing much more instruction beyond that. It's designed for students who are already familiar with the style. Sharath is extremely well-known to Ashtanga yogis for his accomplished personal practice and precise teaching methods.

Before I come to my senses, I'm easing out of final savasana with a calm mind, completely undisturbed. The utter silence is unbelievably nourishing and refreshing, drawing me deeper into a peaceful quiet. I find myself dreamily enjoying the absence of language and verbiage flickering through my consciousness, feeling my muscles soften and relax. The serenity is truthfully difficult to describe. Any words I could use would only serve to create distance between me and the purely natural, visceral experience. Instead of grasping for a collection of nouns, verbs and adjectives strung together with grammar and punctuation, tonight I'm simply going to release and let go, surrendering into the indefinable, inexpressible, ineffable expanse of existence. Tomorrow I'm traveling to Toronto to visit my sister Annie, taking the opportunity to explore yoga in the big city.


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