I now have a “serious” yoga mat. I’ve never had the desire for one, but when seeing the state of my current mat my girlfriend decided it was time for an upgrade. So she surprised me with this guy. Honestly though, I feel like a wizard who was given a new wand. My friend Alex also blessed my practice with a new black and gold magic carpet for extra traction when my mat becomes a slip ‘n slide once the sweat starts pouring.
At the beginning of this year I picked up a morning Mysore style Ashtanga yoga practice, and i’ve maintained it pretty regularly. Mysore style brings a group of people together in the studio who all practice the same system-sequence of postures and flows but do so at their own breath-pace. A teacher walks around the room and gives personalized adjustments, guides, and pushes the students according to their unique place in the sequence-system, my teacher is Jason Stein.
I started out with 3x a week in January. It takes between an hour and a half to two hours to complete the entire Primary Series, the first of the 6 (?) series of Ashtanga Yoga. Since September of last year I have also had a 3x a week for 20 minutes sitted meditation practice. Since December this was pushed to 30 minutes, 3x a week. About mid February I started upping the morning mysore visits and eventually established practice firmly 5x a week, Monday - Friday. I’ve taken one week off for traveling and I missed one day in the mean time. A truly near-daily practice in Mysore means Sunday-Friday, rest days are every Saturday and also the days of full moons and new moons. This means that a full time student typically practices 6 days a week every other week and 5 days a week on the weeks of “moon” days. Occasionally, there are spells where moon days fall on Saturdays and those epic full time students can go up to 6 weeks of 6x a week practice. Thats fucking intense.
Right now I am more than fulfilled with my mid-week regular practice and 3x 30 minute sitted meditation. ( I did a Vipassana course in December that attempted to convince me to do 2hrs/day everyday sitted meditation.
That was untenable for me.) Ashtanga yoga ain’t for the faint o’ heart. Within minutes I am soaked in sweat and by the finish my mat floats in my own holy lake of the salty stuff. It requires some serious bendy contortionist movement and strength building flows and repetition. Not to mention, there is no end to the series of Ashtanga, they continue to progress closer and closer to that asymptote of impossibility, as Jason says, it becomes increasingly prophetic. Stuff like stopping your heart, I’ve heard.
Its kind of cool, things like this. Being gifted a mat and a rug without asking for it. It feels like the regularity and dedication I’ve given to my practice is recognized, and these two things will actually make a big difference in keeping my feet (or hands or head) firmly on the ground while getting as bendy as I possibly can. Its pretty badass