Day 460: A dedicated yoga practice changed our lives

Before and after pictures of Butler and Flo

460 days (Butler) and 768 days (Flo) sober: A dedicated yoga practice changed our lives.

I started to get to know Flo in May of 2015. We both signed up for a 3 month Ashtanga Yoga immersion at Balance Yoga.

As you learn Ashtanga, teachers begin to talk to you about the benefits of a dedicated practice. 

They first convince you to practice Mysore style which is intimidating.

Mysore is self-led. There is no teacher up front telling you what to do. You memorize the sequence, and you do the same sequence every fucking day but somehow it's always different.

No music. Just breathing.

When you enter you think everyone is going to look at you. You haven't learned about drishti yet.

Everyone looks like advanced. You are a beginner. Everyone is beginning something.

There is talk of a daily practice, 6 days a week at sunrise except on moon days. What the fuck is a moon day? You will quickly begin to appreciate moon days.

You begin to notice what affects your body. To maintain your practice you begin to sleep more and eat healthier.

An article this week read, "Watching live music is better for your wellbeing than yoga." Using a heart monitor and psychometric tests "experts" measured "wellness" after a concert and a yoga "session".

Sutra 1.14: sa tu dīrghakāla nairantarya satkāra-ādara-āsevito dr̥ḍhabhūmiḥ

Practice becomes firmly grounded when it has been cultivated for a long time, uninterruptedly, with earnest devotion.

1.20 śraddhā-vīrya-smr̥ti samādhi-prajñā-pūrvaka itareṣām

śraddhā means having faith you are on the right path.

Practice must be pursued with trust, vigor, memory, absorption and discernment.

1.21 tīvra-saṁvegānām-āsannaḥ
The goal is near for those who apply themselves intensely.

1.22 mr̥du-madhya-adhimātratvāt-tato’pi viśeṣaḥ

Even among these, there is further differentiation of mild, mediocre and extreme intensity.

The benefits of yoga are found with dedicated, consistent practice over time. The immersion was about committing to the practice in this way. The article is talking about one session which is simply exercise

This is something we didn't fully understand until years later. We were not able to commit back then, but our teachers never gave up on us. We are committed now and have faith we are on the right path. We help each other.