Practising Mysore Ashtanga (the traditional way of practising Asthanga yoga) has changed many peoples lives and mindsets for the better.
The teachers I have been lucky enough to practice with have inspired many to make positive changes in life. Through showing people the power of having a committed, dedicated practice. From that, life off the mat starts to change too. Thats the magic of Ashtanga yoga.
Its been the practice that I have seen the most change in myself through sticking at.
It’s the best kind of love, it’s a tough love.
With a dedicated practice, it really gets into the nitty gritty of the emotional and physical body. It literally breaks you down, transforms and builds you back up to be a stronger better more resilient person, whilst making you reflect and more kinder and compassionate.
It does this through kindness and compassion. It really is an amazing practice. It does take a dedication though…
Dedication = Discipline = the route to change
No discipline or practising sporadically = the route to right back where you were.
From having a dedicated practice, I have learnt discipline isn’t punishment. Far from it, it’s self love. By being dedicated and consistent, I started to see big shifts in my mental health and my life.
Some people believe that discipline is punishment, however it is being strict on yourself for YOU and those around you. If you suffer badly from any type of mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, etc, then being dedicated to something daily is where you may see transformation for the better.
Discipline is literally self love. It might be tough love at first, but it is worth it.
I believe, this is why Ashtanga is so transformational. It’s a practice you can learn and take with you anywhere. All you need is your mat and you.
Practising with such amazing teachers has really inspired me and has changed my life for the better. I will be forever grateful to them and their tutilege.
I have so much respect for my teachers, they are well learned, wise, friendly and teachers who stay true to the lineage of the Mysore practice.
There is no judgement or strict dogma, just people who come to practice!
With this practice, it is indeed an internal practice and the rest is just a circus.
I have practised many styles of yoga and experienced different yoga scenes. This practice resonates with me; this is why it is magical.
Being disciplined in Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga can have transformative effects on both physical and mental well-being
What did I learn from Mysore Asthanga that helped me to manage OCD and Anxiety?
– Consistency! –
Consistency, discipline and a commitment to practising daily are super important if you want to see any transformation in this practice.
It’s something you have to dedicate yourself to. As Pattabhi Jois said:
“Ashtanga yoga is for everyone, except for lazy people”.
Through a consistent practice, you begin to learn your strengths and weaknesses. You work through them both on and off the mat.
I went (and continue to go) on such a journey with this practice and it blew my mind, I have never had such an emotional or physical experience with any other practice than Ashtanga. I believe this is down to being dedicated to a consistent practice with a teacher and continuing to practice alone.
As with anything, being devoted is the most important thing. With consistency, you start to break old habits, chains and thought patterns in your mind and form new ones. This can only be achieved with a dedication to your practice and a commitment to practice 6 days a week.
By doing something mentally and physically positive for 21+ days, you will naturally start to rewire your mind and body.
– Time and Space –
We need to create space to facilitate healing and allow time to go deep with yoga and meditation practice. We should allow ourselves the time daily to do this
Create a peaceful calming safe place for ourselves. It’s crucial!
We need to stop being so busy, for our minds sake. One thing I and many others have found so important in our journey, is facilitating time into our days and into our lives to switch off and allow the mind to still.
Allow yourself some calming time, every day, with no phone, no laptop and no distractions… Especially if you suffer with anxiety and OCD!
– Mental & physical strength –
When we practice consistently and dedicate to the practice, we are able to build the physical and mental strength that being a dedicated ashtangi requires.
It takes a lot in the beginning to build up the confidence, emotional and physical strength and stamina. It really is one of the most challenging things to do as it works so deeply on so many levels.
Once you start to overcome one challenge, then your teacher will present you with another. It doesn’t really stop.
This is why it is such a transformational practice. It’s so humbling when you achieve something, the next thing is there. It’s always changing. It takes months, even years to build up the fitness.
You realise also, if injured or if you take a break, how quickly your mental and physical fitness changes. I’m quite fond of this quote by Sharath Jois, because it is very true for the Ashtanga practice, if a daily practice is done.
Becoming more physically fit as well as working on the mental is important, you cannot really have one without the other. Same goes for diet, you cannot really practice if your diet is not sufficient.
– Community –
Showing up even when you cannot face getting out of bed means you’re making a commitment to yourself and your practice.
When you show up daily you prove to not only yourself, but your teachers and fellow practitioners that you are reliable.
People notice when you aren’t around. Plus, teachers put a lot into you, in the Mysore Ashtanga Method. They like to know that their effort is not in vain.
By showing up, or honoring your commitment to a week, month, etc, course, you show the teacher you are invested in the practice.
– Naturally Health & Happy –
When we practice, we start to naturally become healthier. We start to think of things we maybe didn’t think of so deeply before.
We literally are what we eat. Our bodies use vitamins, minerals , proteins, carbohydrates and other compounds from our food to literally re-build our bodies from a cellular level. What we eat and what we drink is super important for our health, emotional and physical.
This also has an effect on our practice. We cannot expect to be our best at, or enjoy practice if we eat a late night pizza the night before, or have a few beers.
Therefore, through a consistent practice, we naturally start to intermittent fast and think about the effects our food has on not only us, but the environment.
We also start to reflect on our own environments, the company we keep and how this affects our practice too.
Through this practice and intermittent fasting, plus changing my eating habits I have become much healthier and stronger.
Literally everything starts to improve in a naturally positive way when we have a daily dedicated practice.
– Rewire the mind & neurons –
Practice becomes something you’re able to tune in to and commit to daily, where you set time to be dedicated.
This becomes routine, like getting up for work. Because of this routine, it becomes an intentional habit. After 21 days of doing something consistently, it becomes routine.
It literally does reprogram your mind, you start putting your self, your mental and physical health first.
Title: Not only Ashtanga… but Hatha too.
There is another style I have practiced a lot and this is Hatha Yoga.
I found that Ashtanga is for me, but I have found that Hatha has really helped me also. I have practised both and found benefits in both.
Its the focus and dedication where you see the benefits, no matter what the practice. You need to find what works for you, there are many differing styles that can help you be dedicated to practice.
I can take the teachings and knowledge with me and practice anywhere, all I need to do is get on my mat in some way, shape or form 5/6 days a week. Whether it’s half an hour or two hours, as long as it’s a daily dedicated practice, that’s enough. It gets me up and active and focusing on the right path.
I am so grateful for this practice, as it has given me the discipline to practice daily, for my mind more than anything. Toning up and weight-loss are just a nice side effect of the practice.
It has inspired me to lead a more peaceful, healthy life and taken me to some amazing places in the world and given me much more confidence.
Its something I endeavour to keep up, to keep practicing… imagine where life might be in a year, 2 years… 10 years!
So as you can see, any type of practice when practiced daily will have a transformational benefit to your mental health, be it meditation, yoga, jogging…
I am so grateful for my teachers for showing me how finding a dedication and focus in life can really help to change your life for the better…
You can find them here:
Lisa Ogletree : Instagram @lisaogletree
Mannu Espinosa: http://www.mannuyoga.com
Maria Dowson: http://www.yogateesside.com
Eva Zikis: http://www.evashtanga.com
George Anthony: http://www.sajeevayoga.com
Discipline = the route to change…
Through having a regular daily practice, you will start to see how your mental and physical health start to improve naturally.
Do you plan to be dedicated to a practice?
Do you already have a consistent practice in something?
We would love to hear from you!
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