I really love Ashtanga. So it’s very interesting to me to notice just how ardently I adore Saturdays and Moon days. By Thursday or Friday each week I am constantly reminding myself that a day off is just over the horizon. On Saturday I am overjoyed. I love the rest.
And then there is Saturday night.
Saturday night I am giddy with anticipation of Sunday and picking back up. I can not wait to get on my mat. I miss my Ashtanga. Sunday is one of my best practices. It’s devoted, it’s focused, it’s powerful. And the cycle begins again.
It occurs to me that this is part of the process of Ashtanga. No doubt, discipline is a major principle here. It’s so easy to say, “I just don’t feel like it today.” It’s even easier not to do it for that reason. It’s hard to get on the mat some days, knowing what task lies ahead. But always, no matter what, the reward comes at the end of the practice. You body and spirit are so thankful for what you’ve done.
I love Saturday because I know I’ve earned it. I know on this day my body is not just resting but sorting through everything it has done in the week prior, organizing and carefully filing all its new capabilities, lessons, etc away. This is why Sunday is so strong. That one day of rest is like making a spectacular marinade of the week’s practice, allowing it to fully absorb and then flavor the following week. Delicioso.
In other Ashtanga news/ development, today I did my first practice without the guid of the David Swenson DVD. The DVD has been great guidance for this beginner, but over last week’s practices I noticed that, not only did I have the series memorized, but that I didn’t need his vocal cues anymore. I was yearning to go at my own pace, and to explore certain poses that the DVD didn’t give me time to explore. Finally (I swear, I can be so slow sometimes) it dawned on me that I was ready to set the DVD to the side. It was a very interesting practice. It was much more a “mediation in motion” than when I used the DVD. Simply because it was quiet and I wasn’t listening to where David was cuing me to go. I was responsible for myself and my own practice now. It was up to me to continue to push, to explore new areas of postures, etc. Furthermore, there were poses, especially in the closing series, that I wanted to spend more time on but the DVD moved quicker than I could. So I was able to spend a little time on those poses and poke around the depths of their intricacies. It was a really good experience. The only thing I used the DVD for was the guided relaxation at the end. I still have a little trouble if there is nothing to bring me out of relaxation. I end up spending the whole time focused on how long I have been there and how much longer I should stay. Suffice it to say, it’s not so relaxing after all.
At any rate, I will probably use the DVD occassionally just to hear his cues and maybe hear something new from what he has to say. I’ll also need it when I’m ready to progress farther into the Primary Series, since I don’t have that part down in memory.
Every day, every week continues to be a new adventure in Ashtanga. It’s always fun, never easy and constantly presenting a new challenge. I am again grateful I’ve found this practice. It is exactly what I have been needing for a personal practice.