The simple act of rolling out your mat and standing on it, is the sole habit that you need to build. The rest follows on its own.
Once the limbs start moving to accustomed counts, you are set to flow. Ashtanga builds itself upon you. Each body responds differently to it. Some will find it tiring for the length of the practice. And some will find the poses hard.
You need to decide what you want to work upon. For me it was the length of the practice. I wanted to make through the series without panting.
Ashtanga is not just your physical fitness. The target is to reach a destination where your breath doesn’t become uneven. Where every breath is equal and comfortable. If you keep looking at it as a good cardio, you are mistaken. The goal is not to burn calories. It’s just the starting point. The goal is something different. And it reveals itself as you stay with it over years.
Who would have thought the 5 navasanas wouldn’t cause any shivers anymore? Who would have thought that the only pose you will find really difficult in the primary series is the samasthiti? Especially the one at the end.
Ashtanga in the initial years was so much like a challenge to me. As I kept submitting myself to the challenge and failed everyday, I learnt to be humble. Doing a headstand was not even an achievement it seemed. It’s one thing to do it separately and another thing to do it in a sequence.
Years kept passing by…what kept adding on were breaths. I could last a longer time on the mat gradually. Slowly.
Internally things were changing too… I became a lot more confident. Felt strong for the first time in my life. Became a better decision maker. Intuition levels sharpened. Manifestation capabilities got stronger.
And most importantly, learnt to question human behaviour. Why do humans do the things they do? How much of it is necessary? How much of it is due to conditioned upbringing? How simple can life be made and why do we complicate things? etc etc.
Standing here after 5years of practice, my goal has successfully shifted. It shifted from the practice as a challenge to a practice that awakens me. It’s my tool to delve into deeper things as I delve deep into my bodily movements..
I still don’t complete the entire sequence most days. I am detached from it..
Let’s see how it keeps transforming in the coming future..