Frustrations and Break Throughs in Ashtanga Yoga

pindasana521 This article is amazing for many reasons. I love the realness and I think so many people can relate to the story. It reminds me of the first line of the Yoga Sutras, “and now yoga”.  After she had done it  her way for so long, she was finally ready to surrender,”and now yoga”. That is the embodiment of that phrase. Yoga, or the cessation of our old patterns,  is what happens when we  can no longer live with our cycle of  on and off again suffering. Yoga is the stopping of that cycle.

Article on Ashtanga Jai Kai and written by Joy. See the original post in its entirety by clicking here.

Joy: I just did the Primary in 45 minutes.

What?! I think about that now and am actually confused…How the hell did I even do that? I must’ve looked like I was on speed.

At that time Ashtanga kept me away from parties and allowed me to focus on my art.  David taught me the system and I worked it to the Maximum T.  Six days a week. I never missed. I followed the count to precision. And that’s what I did for four years. There was no other thought in my mind except,

Joy: Follow the count. Finish. You got to get back home to work on your script. utanashalabhasanab1021

David would try to give me instructions but the need for actions, understanding foundations…

Joy: You’re bothering me. Don’t talk to me. I know what I’m doing. I don’t need your help.

And then in my mid twenties something happened.  I aged a bit and all that thoughtless Up Dog caused back pain and the thoughtless forward bends strained my hamstrings and the shoulders creeping forward in my chaturanga caused shoulder pain.  Pain, Pain everywhere and I was 25.  I will never forget the day I walked into practice and all I could do was a couple Sun Salutations until the pain started.  I can remember David giving me a look.  The look was a combination of sympathy and questing,

David: Are you going to start learning now? Will you let me teach you? Are you going to accept my help?

For a good couple years I hated practice. Every day was a battle to not quit. David started to slowly give me instructions and I slowly started to receive them.  The pain would go away but then a new pain would arise. He would give me instruction, I’d receive them and that was how I slowly gained kinesthetic awareness…through pain. It took about 4 years for me to understand how my body worked at a foundational level and how to integrate his teaching from one asana into another.



The pictures of in this blog are from APP contributors and do not depict the author of this blog.

Join the movement: submit pics, blog posts or videos to shanna@wellnessfrominside.com

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *