On Sunday it did not go to Led Class. This was hard because I could hear the teacher repeat in the back of my head: Sunday is not a day off! Led Class on Sunday is an important part of the Mysore method! Without the Sunday Led Class your practice is not complete!
But still, I did not go. It was my brothers' birthday. And he was running the Amsterdam Marathon. Or at least, half of it. This is still 21.1 km.
My family and me, we took the train to Amsterdam at 10 AM and we arrived in Amsterdam one and a half hour later. We arrived together with at least half of the Netherlands. I don't think I've ever seen so many people in one area. I heard that 37,000 runners were registered. No less than 13,000 people ran the full marathon (over 42 km). It blew me away.
As my brother had started his half marathon, I took a seat in the Olympic Stadium where the runners finished and got their well deserved applause and medal. Among the crowd I heard a lot of different languages; apparently the Amsterdam Marathon attracts people from all over the world. I watched the runners finish, some more dead than alive. I saw people of different ages and weight. Some did not even look fit, but still they had managed to finish this race.
I thought about running a marathon. If all these people can do it, I should be able to do it too. It would take a lot of time and energy and it would take all the discipline in the world, but I felt sure that if all these people could do it, so could I.
But then what? Why run a marathon? To prove you can? To show the world you did it?
It is a thing with an end. You train and you train and then you run the distance and hopefully you'll finish and that is that. You go home with a medal and a great feeling. And the next day you'll have to come up with a new idea. So no. I am going to stick with Ashtanga, even though I will never get an Ashtanga medal and I won't get any applause. It's never match day and there are no championships. If I am lucky, my teacher will give me a Very Good, or a Beautiful or a Do It Again! or a Hold It For Ten Breaths, Slow Ones! But who cares. It Is A Practice, not a competition, and that is a good thing. Every day I practice, I feel something. I feel blessed, thankful, painful, happy and/or frustrated. Every day I practice I become more flexible and strong, physically and mentally. And that's a great thing. No medal beats the feeling a back bend is giving you.