The Yogi himself (aka Pops) has made me an offer—if I agree to practice Mysore Ashtanga Yoga six days a week, he will pay for me to attend Eddie Stern’s studio. Eddie is a pretty big deal in the yoga world. He has been on the mat for what seems like eons and specifically under the training of Pattabhi Jois (the true yogi) since 1991. He and his wife Jocelyn opened the studio in 1995 and it’s been a success ever since.
Last year while interning at Seventeen Magazine, my dad gave me the same offer which I happily hopped on. I’d always wanted to reap the benefits of yoga (especially after seeing how it changed my dad’s life), but the drive was never really there for long. Situated in the heart of SoHo (one of my favorite areas of NYC and right next door to Kate Spade), I would run a mile and a half there and back each morning. I was so amped the first week and a half to be able to attend this well-known studio and bend in breathing unison amongst inspirational people. And then I got sick and wanted my beauty sleep, so I let my practice slip to the wayside. Tsk Tsk.
Dad says the trick to yoga is to approach it unlike any other workout. It’s not a space where you should bring a business mentality or be specifically goal-driven. Rather, you just keep showing up (here’s to hoping that this year I have the determination to eliminate excuses and make the trek). He explained that with yoga, everyday you’re practicing an unusual kind of internal focus (or, in my case, will be trying to considering my stubborn brain never wants to STFU). And with each practice comes strength and flexibility beyond what you imagine—and without struggling or striving, to boot. See, that’s where I get caught up—every time I have practiced, I get discouraged because my downward dog just straight blows (in my opinion at least, because I’ve never been able to get my heels firmly placed), but hey, I can sit in a mean full lotus, so there’s that. I’m hoping that maybe if I stop striving, maybe it’ll just happen. It’s the same idea of not actively searching for love or happiness, when you least expect it, it’ll just show up.
So, since Padre insists that the whole experience will be “super good” for me in many ways, I figure that now is as good a time as any (especially since I’m making other lifestyle decisions simultaneously) to give it a whirl (or a stretch, if you will).
(The real challenge is going to be making the Mysore sessions each morning considering it’s in SoHo and it will take a good 35-40 minutes on the Subway…helloooooo consistent early mornings and hopefully the will to not press snooze.)