What an amazing weekend with David Swenson and his wife, Shelly, this weekend!
We had a led primary practice followed by pictures and videos of David as a young teen practicing on a towel to his time in India with many fond stories and memories of Pattabhi Jois. The next day we went through second series, worked on back bending and finished with inversions on Sunday. David shared many good tips and advice!
However, I think the biggest gift I got from this workshop was compassion. The real challenge with an Ashtanga practice is not to get swept away with trying to do more, get better, and progress in your series. This weekend I was deeply touched by how much David and his wife, Shelly, respect and love each other so completely and fully. I felt that love spills out into the entire room and to all of the students.
I started wondering…”how did they get there?!” Then I was reminded that a true yoga practice is so much more than the asanas we do on our yoga mat. It is about finding acceptance, love and compassion on and off of the mat, and once that is found within, how can it not flow without. In Mysore, India, they do not praise the guy with the leg behind his head any more or less than the girl who cannot get her legs into lotus. We are all equal and yet very unique.
There are many health benefits to a regular yoga practice, but this weekend reminded me to not forget about the bigger emotional and spiritual benefits yoga offers us as well.