A couple of weeks back I was doing my due diligence and scouring YouTube for yoga videos and I looked at my favorite intermediate Ashatanga primary series video for the umpteenth time. I just adore how flexible and strong the yogi(ni)s are in the video. I practiced a couple of times before, watched countless videos, printed out the series, and attempted poorly to try to learn on my own. That night I had a dream that Kino McGregor was in DC at this house I walked into sitting at a round table with a lot of other smiling faces, whom I did not know. I was so happy to see her, sit next to her, smile, and think about beautiful yoga. I woke up that morning thinking, I am going to do it, I am going to jump into Ashtanga yoga, but where to begin? Coming from a lineage of Sivananda Hatha Yoga, I enjoy set postures, discipline, and routine. Moving to DC I was looking for a place to practice yoga early in the morning before my early start to work and didn’t require a lot of talking from the teacher, not that early in the morning. Later that afternoon I get a message from my friend Autumn who I met briefly in San Francisco linking me and Jen René together, stating that Jen is an amazing Ashtanga yogi in DC who teaches Mysore at Flow. Life is grand in that way, supplying what I request shortly after I make the decision.

 

 

I woke up at 5:50am on Wednesday morning prepared to make it to class. I set out and signed up for the class. I walked in not sure what to expect, but knowing that I do not know the full sequence. Greeted at the door Jen knew it was me from the messages and smiled warmly. The heat in the room warming my cold bones from outside, the breathing from those other yogis who were already well on their practice hit my ear, I naively thought I was going to be really early before most arrived. I rolled out my mat and stood in samasthith, waiting patiently for direction on how to begin my practice. I knew going to class that no matter how many years of experience of yoga, the teacher decides how far along the sequence I progress. This is fine with me. Although doing yoga for 8 years I am still unable to fully get my heels down to the ground in downward dog and head to the knees in standing forward fold, or any fold for that matter. I welcome moving at my own pace and advancing slowly but quickly. I learned the first part of the sequence and after three full weeks, missing a couple of days at the studio, but practicing at home in the morning in spirit, I am at navasana (boat) pose. I do not think I am far along, but the changes in my practice, in my body, and my mind are extremely noticeable. My heels come closer to the ground, my breath is fuller, and my focus is sharp. I cannot speak highly enough of the teachers at Flow. For the first time I found a morning practice that really gets me going. The heat that I create in the body, the dedication, concentration, and lightness in the room is so empowering. Doing the practice at home is still just as profound, but being in the room with the Mysore crew and teachers is inspiring and comforting. I do not know most of the people in the class but I do feel a connection, a sense of belonging, a home within in the DC Yoga community. Thank you Jen, Peg, and Sandy for creating a playful, warm, sanctuary to practice in the morning and look forward to many more sweaty mornings coming out into the cold, feeling light and warm internally.

 

In love, sweat, magic, and peace,

APRIL RAMEÉ

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