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  • Writer's pictureAlena

Reflections on over a decade of Ashtanga Yoga

The more we identify with something, the more we lose the experience of its essence.

The moment I say I am a yogi, is the moment I no longer am.

I’ve stopped talking a lot about yoga. It wasn’t a decision as much as an organic evolution.

At this moment in my life, I’ve practiced and studied Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga for over a decade. Those years have made me nothing better nor worse, and ultimately just a little more humbled to the mystery and simplicity of it all.

But what was truly unexpected, was that sadhana/practice and tapas/austerities led me through so many layers of undoing and revealing… until I eventually reached some sort of other side.

Yoga itself is a journey that never ends, but it led me to encounter something that is beyond, that transcends system, that is in essence, that lives on the other side of it.

Beyond system, beyond even enlightenment and all ideas of transcendence, lies something older. Something primal. Something timeless. A pulse. A mergence. A movement. Something primordial.

That which is formless and cannot be shaped or named, only experienced and embodied and awakened.

The more we grasp to what we think something is the more we hold on to systems and structures as ways to identify ourselves, until something becomes diluted. And then diluted until it‘s lost.

We limit ourselves, when in truth we are limitless.

Yoga actually has very little to do with asana and almost nothing to do with the clutching at shapes and structures and ideas.

As modern humans seeking something, we tend to take pieces of ancient living bodies of wisdom, gateways to an essence, and call them something we can identify ourselves with.

This is where we get stuck, where we lose the opportunity to experience ourselves.

When we grasp at that which is outside of ourselves, we dilute a little of the miracle we seek.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, how much can we dilute before the gateway to the otherside has been lost to us?

When I work with people now it’s less about mastery over a system and more about experiencing and honouring an essence. So we may slip through the gateways to discover whatever is there waiting for us on the other side.

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