The following is by Clare McKeown who has been a student at Ashtanga Yoga for over two years, find out what she thinks about our course and her experience of Ashtanga Yoga.
My Experience of Ashtanga Yoga…
I have been a student at Ashtanga Yoga Dublin for 2 years, and this year have enjoyed doing the Heart of Yoga course with David and Paula. David often reminds us how Guruji told his students, “Practice, and all is coming”, and we get to experience the truth of that over and over again as we just show up on our mats every day. One of the things that drew me to ashtanga yoga is that all you need, at any point in your experience, is a simple willingness to show up and explore your own limits.
Ashtanga yoga challenges everyone individually. Everyone learns the same postures, in the same way; there are no short cuts and it’s hard at times. Yet this is a deeply rewarding practice that gives back to you what you give to it in abundance. Practicing Mysore style means we all get to work on an individual level, and be taught according to our own needs, while at the same time we experience the powerful collective energy of a roomful of people all breathing and moving together. In the tough spots on the mat we meet ourselves as we see where we have imposed our own limits, and recognise where we similarly limit ourselves away from the mat, in life. We begin to understand that it’s the grace and strength with which we greet challenges that shows us the reality of where we are, reveals to us where we can still yet grow, and inspires us to reach for our potential. As we surrender and honestly start to look at ourselves, our awareness increases. We accept that at times we will falter, that we don’t know everything, and that we need to move into territory we think we fear. We learn to gather our courage, breathe, and move forward. We gradually learn to trust ourselves, and value and respect each other as we all move along, as we all persevere, with growing awareness and grace after each stumble. We learn that our perceptions shift constantly, that each day is new, that it can be to us exactly what we choose to make it; we experience the empowerment that comes with understanding the only way out is through whatever it is we would rather avoid, and peace will come when we learn to just let it be and let it go.
David and Paula are both wonderful teachers; they are dedicated yogis who live this practice and the example they set in their approach to life makes me feel truly blessed to have them as influences in mine. They are endlessly patient, encouraging, kind and intuitive. They demonstrate a genuine level of care toward their students and in their school, David and Paula have created a beautiful space where everyone is welcome. My life is fuller and more authentic as a result of a regular practice – aside from meeting great people, and any of the obvious physical benefits, yoga is deeply, powerfully transformative.
I am stronger and more at peace than I’ve ever been, and life’s experiences are somehow brighter. Letting go of what was yesterday and welcoming today with an open heart is a beautifully simple principle; I want to offer a sincere thank you to all my teachers and fellow students for demonstrating its truth and helping me to experience it. Clare McKeown