I still love Ashtanga, but we’re just friends now… or All is Here!

Yoga Sun Salute

Are you in love with Ashtanga?
Are you in a committed relationship with Ashtanga?
I was in a committed relationship with Ashtanga for almost 10 years!
And Ashtanga was the most demanding partner I have ever had!

My dear Ashtanga told me what time I had to go to bed so I can wake up early for our morning dates. Yes, every morning six times a week (oh, the seven day you had to suffer the pain of the separation). Well, the same for the moon days… that totally makes sense for women.
My dear Ashtanga told me what I need to eat and drink. Somehow I really struggled without garlic… oh well, I ate garlic on the days before moon days.
My dear Ashtanga also told me how to breathe… talk about a control freak!
My dear Ashtanga insisted that I hold my bandas 24 hours a day… really honey? Can we talked about this one?
… My dear Ashtanga
choose vacation spots for me – Ashtanga yoga retreats! Those retreats were wonderful, so I really am not going to complain here.
… but My dear Ashtanga ruined all my other relationships… who can put up with Ashtanga always being my top priority?

… but… I STILL LOVE ASHTANGA!!!!

Yes! ALL CAPS, and bold, and italic… and I stole this language hack of getting my intensity across in print from an Ashtangi friend. 

Happy Boat / Navasana
Happy Boat / Navasana, photo by Ken Mooty

… Yes!!! I STILL LOVE ASHTANGA!!!!

Because… All has come for me this summer! Thanks to Ashtanga… and Reiki… and all the healing modalities I practiced… and shadow work… and Toastmasters
Yes! I cheated on Ashtanga! I wasn’t a perfect Ashtangi after all…

Sofia Ageyeva - 2015 - Reiki Yoga Teacher
Sofia Ageyeva, 2015 Reiki Yoga Teacher, photo by Tamara Maher

How do I know All has come? Well, I can’t prove it, but… I was able to not work for 5.5 months, and I farmed butterflies, and I wrote poetry, and I cried a lot, and… I’m in Love and he loves me back! And he was there for me to pick me up, and to tell me to cut it off… to listen to my stories, and to tell me to shut up and listen for a change! I love him!.. Because he’s honest with me! And to be honest, I have to say, that my dear Ashtanga taught me to be open to a real relationship… my dear Ashtanga opened my heart!

Enough about me… I just tried to make a point! But in case you didn’t see the magic in All of that, here are some details. I met the man I love on a meditation app… he is an OBGYN doctor… he has the biggest and the most generous heart! And women, whose babies he delivered and whose cervixes he examined, wrote reviews about him, so I can be sure he is real! remember I met him online, so I had to check if he was real… as it was just too good to be true!
I think this is what it means “All is coming”… yet… I did cry a lot! I was such a mess… I still am… it’s All a part of letting go…
I let go of Ashtanga. I let go of my dream job at Toastmasters International. I let go of being an IT manager… and a lot of other personal shit.
Enough about me…

Let’s get scientific here… let’s learn by observing!

 Guruji ( Sri Pattabhi Jois) Ashtanga Prayer
 Guruji ( Sri Pattabhi Jois), Ashtanga Prayer

Let’s look at Ashtanga History.
We can see that Guruji ( Sri Pattabhi Jois), Tim Miller, and David Swenson at one point in their lives had to stop their Ashtanga practice.
For Guruji, it was after decades of practice, and a very dramatic personal event. He let go of his Ashtanga practice, or his old identity, and I believe, he also got acquainted with his shadow self.

Shadow work is tricky… but it can explain this “darker side” of Guruji every Ashtangi talks about now…
But you know what? He taught us a very important lesson:

Don’t put your Yoga Teacher on the pedestal!

If your yoga teacher touches your Mula Banda (aka your perineal muscles) please know that it’s not ok, and Say NO! It seems so obvious, yet, you need to connect to your real authentic self to do that. Which means, it’s a good lesson! Plus with all the Ashtanga drama we have today, Guruji created a perfect shit storm situation for his grandson, Sharath, who he loved very much….
You need some dramatic event for All to really hit you!
That’s my theory… based on my observations, and my personal self-study aka Svadhyaya.

Sofia Ageyeva teaches Ashtanga closing sequence
Sofia Ageyeva teaches Ashtanga closing sequence, photo by Diana Christinson

Enough about Ashtanga! Let’s talk about You!

Are you in a committed relationship with Ashtanga? How is it going? Is Ashtanga treating you well?

Let’s be honest here! Let’s check with your body. Any bruises? How are your knees? How is your wrist today? Any herniated discs?
I’m not judging, but does this sounds a little bit like an abusive relationship?

I know you Love Ashtanga! I know… Ashtanga opened your heart! Same here… remember all the cap locks and bold and italic. I still Love Ashtanga!…. but we are just friends now.

Handstand at the beach, Sofia Ageyeva and Pacific Ashtanga friends
Costa Rica Yoga Retreat with Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala friends

I realize that I’m not a typical Ashtangi. For years, I went to Ashtanga and Iyengar and other yoga classes at YogaWorks. It worked just fine for me!
I committed to Ashtanga because Shayna Liebbe left this world… and I loved her! Her leaving shook my world. Everything stopped… everything changed… I was broken and lost 10 years ago.

What is your Ashtanga story? Were you broken and lost when you came to Ashtanga?
Tim Miller said, that if people were happy, he would’t have a job… unhappy, broken people come to Ashtanga (don’t quote this, it’s not his direct words, but written by memory from a workshop I took with him).
According to Buddha , “Life is Suffering“. Would you agree that Life is suffering? If Yes, then we are all lost and broken at times. (if NO… please read the question one more time).

Life is suffering… and we all are lost and broken… and if you are an Ashtangi, you were brave enough and committed enough to do something about it!

But is it working for you today?… it’s all about Now, remember?

WHAT If?.. You stay just friends with Ashtanga?

You would have time for other people and relationships…
I know, that the man I love would not be Ok with me putting him second after Ashtanga, with me calling him while I drive to and from my practice, with me going to practice while he visits me for a couple of days. I’m using myself as a sample. Who else do I know better? Svadhyaya, remember? (and yes, I can’t remember how to spell Svadhyaya either)

What if you stay just friends with Ashtanga?… Don’t roll your eyes at me… What’s Wrong with Maybe?

Life is Precious! Your time is limited. You gave so much of your time and energy to dear Ashtanga, so maybe you can just do a little but less of Ashtanga… or a lot less. David Swenson once said, that sometimes 3 sun salutes and a closing sequence is all you need. Please consider what a senior Ashtanga teacher tells you.

Life is Precious! My time is limited. I choose to spend more time living my life. I choose to spend more time with people I love…

But I agree,Yoga does Work! So YogaWorks is still there for you with amazing teachers, like Bob Metzler and Savita Geuther, and many others.

And, I still love my Ashtanga Yoga teacher. I’m where I am today because of her, because of my practice and her… and a lot of other things she showed me or encouraged me to try.

… SO… I still LOVE my yoga teacher. I just don’t want her to adjust me. I would come to Mysore sometimes, but how can I tell her not to touch me… today? OR how can I be Ok when she doesn’t adjust me without me requesting that? She knows that’s what I need, but what about my ego… and her ego?

But since All has hit me… I have a solution for that! What about an Ashtanga Towel that says: “DO NOT Adjust me… today! I still Love you! I’m still your student!”? Just think about it… You already bring your towel to Ashtanga, so it won’t be in your teacher’s way like those cards or circles. It’s a brilliant idea, right? I almost hold of this post to figure out how I can sell those towels, and make some money!.. But I’m a girl who codes. I make pretty decent money per hour. How many towels do I need to sell per hour to make that amount? Too many!!! so yes, I’m going back to work in a cubicle, and I’m excited about that! The Universe (aka All) helped me in finding the best Senior .NET developer job in Orange County, CA. I’m not going to be my own boss, but I will help others to do that!

Enough about me… If you like “Do Not Adjust me” towel idea, you’re welcome to produce those towels, or just order one for yourself on Shutterfly. I might order a couple for my friends as a Christmas gift. Perfect Ashtangi Christmas Gift idea! (Told you I’m connected to All, and its great ideas!)

Are you ready to practice a little bit less, to let Love in?

What about creating your own sequence or asking your teacher to help you with that? My teacher gave me a perfect new sequence when I asked her… and she was so happy to do that! I saw sparkle in your eyes! The same you see in Guruji eyes… like she’s been waiting for me to ask this for years!
Can you come to Mysore and practice your own sequence? Please Say Yes! Say Yes to the Adventure!


Questions to consider:

Was Shayna Liebbe your first Ashtanga teacher? How can you still remember and love her but be friends with Ashtanga? Please do your own Svadhyaya… I did it by building an Introduction to Ashtanga by Shayna Liebbe website.

Do ashtangies have OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is[…] when person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over- NIH – Health Topic Article .

Do you want to go to the next level of All, or would you rather stay and meditate?

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Categories: Ashtanga, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Story, Yoga

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  1. Sofia Sonya Ageyeva: Portfolio – Yes to Dreams
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