Ashtanga and me

Text by Claire Marvint

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Ashtanga and me

Ashtanga and me | (To know more about this practice)

Ashtanga is undoubtedly the practice that allowed me to open myself. The practice of Ashtanga is very demanding. It pushes us into our last entrenchments. You should expect to be shaken physically and mentally. Without expecting it, we find ourselves more humble of our body, its abilities but also its limits.

The goal is not to be able to enter into an advanced posture (and it’s never been in yoga)  but rather to accept the place where you are while doing it, and to work from there. We can only move forward, even if progress is not always visible. In my case, from the moment I unroll my mat, I know that I will have to let go and let myself be guided by my practice. And so begins a dance between humility and vulnerability, between control and lightness, between effort and relaxation.

An assiduous practice of ashtanga usually involves us in several phases. There are phases of joy and accomplishment, where suddenly a posture finally becomes accessible after months of work. Or when our teacher finally gives us a new posture, after weeks or months of kind of stasis (Rememeber we can only move forward).

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So there is also the “plateau phase”, where the practice barely evolves, and which can be relatively frustrating. One notes, often wrongly, that very little evolution in practice. This phase is not negligible because for me it allows me to consolidate my achievements or work more in depth of the postures or transitions that are still fragile. Above all, it must be accepted that evolution is not always constant or visible.
But what is most meaningful to me is the wellness that my practice can give me. Even in the most chaotic emotional states, I never try to escape my practice. I have to face myself, and I know this confrontation is necessary. Even if I’m surrounded by other practitioners, knowing or not my personal story, my practice is the moment when I feel the most alone but where loneliness never strikes.
it sometimes happen to me to get up in the morning having slept very little, with a heavy heart, but my practice has never let me down. My practice is my outlet to reality, but it is also my best way to confront my inner reality and take stock of my emotional state.
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Ashtanga and me

Indeed, even if certain postures can lead us to extreme frustration states, because they do not seem (at first) accessible. Practice, consistency, concentration and letting go provide access to what was once inaccessible. Taking the time to accomplish the once inaccessible is a long term job.
Ashtanga asks us a lot. Ashtanga teaches us to take risks while remaining fully aware of our body and mind. If certain postures seem difficult or even terrifying, they will be less and less with time. You have to face it, accept its current state, its frustrations and its difficulties. And one day, through effort, as if by magic, the posture will become accessible.
My practice of Ashtanga is to me a perfect metaphor for life, with its ups and downs, its daily battles, but especially its moments of happiness, purity and calm.
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