A work-study opportunity came up at Ashtanga Yoga Shala NYC so starting this morning I started practicing there.
This room is tiny and intimate. Packed to the gills, mats lined-up back to back. The lack of elbow room was initially uncomfortable, but it kept my drishti in check, circumventing my field of view to my own mat and all distractions at bay. It worked. I flew through my given asanas to the point that I had to stop midpoint and take inventory of what I had already done to make sure I hadn’t skipped anything.
Guy Donahey, the main teacher was out of town so his assistant, Alex (Schatzberg) was at the helm today. His adjusts felt good, firm, and unrelenting, Guruji style. I have to admit I was a little nervous and perhaps judgemental about this very thing, Mysore style can be very intimate and close and I have never been assisted by another man.
I don’t think that way anymore.
I came to AYSNYC looking for two things that I thought were necessary for my practice to advance, both were satisfied, an Ashtanga-ONLY shala and a primary teacher, certified. Even though Alex is not authorized I’ve heard great things about him prior to coming here. He is personable, sensitive, knowledgeable about the practice and with a firm grip in his assists.
Certification is no longer needed.
Alex teaches in the evenings which is when I will be doing my work-study so it makes sense to come practice with him and work right after.
Initially I was a little apprehensive and scared to take the plunge into new territory, leaving my beloved teachers and friends at The Shala Yoga House behind. I even wrote to Alex an email declining the position after I was accepted. Luckily, I was able to reconsidered in time.
If I wanted to take my practice to the next level I had to get out of my comfort zone, let go and do what I have to do.