I think it is fair to say that I am dedicated to my Ashtanga Practice. My day is just not complete unless I have rattled through the series from start to finish, 60 Chaturanga Dandasanas and all. After 5 years of practice, I am staring to reap the benefits.
At school, I was the slowest swimmer, I was terrible in gymnastics club, I’ve never had any upper body strength and have never been sporty. Surfing was just never a consideration for me. Those of you who know me will know that I am scared of speed and consider myself to be far an adrenalin junky when it comes to extreme sports. But, working on a surf camp, I knew that I would be missing out if I did not exploit the local surf opportunities. It’s been pretty tough going and on some days I have vowed that it isn’t for me thinking that I’ll just stick to the yoga. But just as Ashtanga Yoga is a disciplined practice, so is learning to surf. And so, I get myself back out I to the white wash, bruises and all, and continue.
This week I have had a major breakthrough and for the first time, I feel that it has started to come together. If you’re are hanging out in the white wash (AKA foamies) it’s pretty hard on the hip flexors as you wade into the oncoming waves. However, for the first time, I got slightly beyond the white wash and was actually on my belly paddling to take a slightly larger wave. After all, it’s like riding a bike, you need to speed right! You need a few bigger waves to get some power behind you.
Shoulder stability plays a massive part in Ashtanga Yoga. Anyone who has recently trained with me will have my shoulder stability mantra resonating within. It is something that I have worked incredibly hard at since working through a rotator cuff injury. But aside from that, where did all the strength to paddle come from? I really wasn’t expecting it. As I worked through my practice today, I realised how much shoulder strength and stability I have gained. The transitions of Ashtanga Yoga play a big part in strengthening the muscles of the shoulder girdle. Could it be that all this strength has come from the repetition of these transitions, time and time again? Has the slowest swimmer actually gained that much strength?
Tomorrow, I will be back in the water to take little green waves. This means I need to paddle more. But I am ready…I feel fully prepared and strong. All that discipline has paid off, I feel that my shoulder strength and stability is going to get me on my first green waves ad I cannot wait!!! I bloody love Ashtanga Yoga….not only have I made my career out of something that I love so dearly, it is allowing me to participate in an activity that I never in a million years thought I would be getting so much enjoyment from.