So. I turned 40 and I wasn't feeling bubbly. On the contrary. I felt heavy, stressed out and looking back: I wasn't myself. Even though I just got a new job which I enjoyed and I had my first novel published, I didn't feel exited about life. Given the fact that I'd always wanted to have my own book published, I should've felt proud and ecstatic, but I didn't. I felt tired, and maybe a bit depressed.
I took a three week vacation and all I did was fantasize about being 67 so I could stop working. I counted the weeks before my retirement. If I saw my book in a store, I felt embarrassed. This was not going well.
Luckily, my boss saw my stress and acknowledged her own. We had to get help. She hired an assistant, for her and for me. The first few weeks it got worse, because I had to instruct this assistant and learn her a a lot of things. But I really liked her, we got along really well and she made my work a bit more lighter. This was step one.
Step two: I returned to do yoga. But not Ashtanga. I wanted to relax, unwind, take care of my tired body. So I took Vinyasa, Yin, Jivamukti and Restorative. In a week, I would go to three different yoga studios. It felt good and I started to heal myself. Then one studio started to offer Ashtanga yoga. I thought: maybe I should give it another try. And I did. I took a lesson, a led class half primary, on a Saturday morning. It felt good, sweating and flowing and breathing.
Now my body and mind were up for it. The next week I went back.
I started going to class it twice a week. Next I was practicing a bit at home, with the help of YouTube videos. I got really excited about the practice. My teacher told the class that he was going to go to India, to Mysore. This was the first time I heard about Mysore. I started reading about it. When this teacher returned from India, he told me that he practiced Mysore at 6 AM in the morning in a studio near my house, three times a week. I felt I wanted to do that too. But I hesitated for months. Thought I could not ever jump out of bed so early. Thought it was only for very advanced students. Worried about not being good enough, worried about getting tired, about not being able to maintain a normal life, about how to combine a practice with my job.
One day I set aside my worries, hesitations and doubts. I went to my first Mysore Class at 6 AM. This was three months ago. This morning I could bind in Marichyasana D.
The picture says: It is difficult to make a choice. But sometimes you just have to do it.
"You come to it for one thing and later you find yourself sitting in a room in Mysore."
David Swenson said this in the book Guruji, A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Through the Eyes of His Students. It is a great read, this book. His students, who are now well known teachers around the globe, talk about life in Mysore, back in the days. And about Guruji. About Ashtanga Yoga.
I read it for half an hour in bed before going to sleep. And when I wake up, it is my time to do Ashtanga.
Why did you start practicing yoga? Do you remember?
I certainly do.
I'd had an extremely busy time. In September of 2014 I'd started a new job for forty hours a week with a lot of stress and responsibilities. On top of that, I had a book coming out. I'd written a novel, and had sent it to maybe ten publishers. Nobody would wanted to publish it and I'd almost forgotten about it. Especially when I started this new job, I thought: better to forget about the book and focus on my work. It was more than enough. But then: Expect the Unexpected: a publisher mailed me and wanted to talk about the manuscript. I took the train to Amsterdam and had a meeting about a possible book. We had an agreement and they would publish the book on my fortieth birthday (this was in March of 2015). I started panicking because it was already November and the book was not even finished. I had to read it at least ten times, make adjustments, change sentences, paragraphs, whole pages, skip a lot and be satisfied with it. A hell of a job.
From Monday till Friday I worked at the office of my new job, panicking. On Saturday and Sunday I would be working on my book, stressed out. I started feeling not so good. I had migraines and I didn't sleep very well. I was tense all the time. I didn't want to make any mistake at the office, and I wanted to do a good job with the book. There were chapters in the book I hesitated about, but it was too late to rewrite them completely.
Finally, after a whole lot of stressed times, the book was published. I'd expected that I would've made me proud for the rest of my life. It didn't. It was the opposite: the book coming out made me feel vulnerable. Everybody could read it: my parents, ex-lovers, family, colleagues, my boss. I was tense the whole time. I needed something to relax me. The wellness center with the hot tubs was not enough. I went to a yoga studio. They offered Ashtanga. I didn't know what Ashtanga was. I took a couple of lessons, and I quit. I thought it was too demanding, too harsh, too difficult, to rigid. All the things I didn't want in my free time.
To be continued