The first time I did Ashtanga yoga, I thought I would die of exhaustion.  Like many people, I thought that yoga was all about stretching.  Not Ashtanga!  It requires flexibility and that comes with time.  But the big challenge for me was the strength.  Ashtanga requires a lot of it!  I was stunned, I had been running for 30 years, and thought I was strong.  I had no idea what strength was about to mean for me.  I remember practising

day after day, and becoming entirely drenched in sweat after about 10 minutes every time. This went on for about a year.  As I got stronger, I started sweating less.

Other funny things that happened to me as I developed my strength and balance was falling off my mat.  I used to keel over with a small “ou,” it was actually quite amusing.  In workshops, when the teacher would ask me to do something, I was certain I would plunge to my death and voiced this quite openly, but I did it, nevertheless.  And guess what happened?  I improved.  Now, I have strength, balance and flexibility, more than ever before in my life.  

The other unexpected benefits of Ashtanga yoga for me were a clear improvement in my concentration and the achievement of a calm, poised mind.  I did not see these two coming.  I started Ashtanga just for physical fitness and that, I certainly got.  But the mental benefits were a surprise.  It continues to surprise me how I can read things and understand what I read so much faster and more easily.  I also work steadily and very productively.  I think it's because now, I approach my work with a calm mind.  I don’t panic anymore.  I just do what I need to do until it's done.  So, I became very curious about what, in my yoga practice, had changed my mind so much. What changed my body was evident, it's what changed my mind that I did not know.  This is why I am researching yoga.

© 2018 by A▴P▴H