32.) and 33.) Finding love in the new and familiar

So much has happened since the last update. I finished my thesis. I graduated with my third (and hopefully last!) degree. I spent a glorious three weeks with my sister and two weeks with my family. I visited a new country. I took the Praxis. I read 3.5 novels on my Kindle. I’ve applied for my license to practice. I spent some time with friends who are leaving and dispersing across the country, some that I likely might not see again. It’s been a lot of change to take in.

I could write pages and pages on all of these things, but it would take so long. I think this entry I will just dedicate to the joy of discovery of love in new, yet familiar, things.

32.)  My first ashtanga yoga class

Ashtanga, to me, is such an interesting and beautiful form of yoga. It’s so much stricter and more regimented than the free-flowy, playful power yoga classes I’m used to, which oxymoronically appeals to my free-flowy, playful character. Ashtanga is more controlled, more perfectionist, seeks to always improve – it is the Type A personality in the yoga world. It’s the master I want to please. It’s the Everest I want to conquer. Yoga to me is also a spiritual practice – my way of connecting with the Divine, and maybe the disciplined order and tradition makes me feel more faithfully connected to my Catholic upbringing – a tendency to pair devotion with ascetics. In my own little mind I built ashtanga up to be so many things that it intimidated the hell out of me and for so long I’ve avoided even trying it (that, and the fact that there aren’t a ton of places that teach the style, except in the middle of the day). This past Wednesday, despite having not practiced yoga regularly in the past 9 months, I finally ballsed it up and went to my first ashtanga class. And yes, it was a bit daunting: there were only 5 pupils participating in the led class, and one woman who set up in the corner on the opposite side of the room to do ashtanga mysore (the same sequence of poses….but done privately with yourself in a public setting, with no one helping you or instructing you). Our mats all faced each other, and I realized quickly that almost all the other class members had been practicing this style for years. The instructor grilled me on my previous yoga skills before consenting to letting me try the class. And the class began. It was amazing. It really was as beautiful as I’d hoped it would be. It was new, but it was also familiar. Ashtanga is touted as being the “original” western yoga, the ancestor of all other yogas you’d find on the menu at your local studio. It is the forefather/mother of vinyasa, hatha, hatha flow, power yoga…all of the styles I’ve practiced over the last 5 years. To me it was like finally being acquainted with the wise old sage from whom the yogas I love descended. I could see features of my younger yogas and was happy to know where they came from, like meeting a boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents and realizing they have the same eyes, they inherited that sense of humor. It was very connective to try it, and I’m excited to do more in the coming weeks. (Also, it left me so sore than even today, 2 days after the class, I can barely lift my arms…signs of growth 🙂 ).

 

 

33.)  Thursday Night Social Ride

Last night, despite the lactic acid attacking my arms, I headed downtown to meet up with Austin’s Thursday Night Social Ride. I’ve known about the group for awhile, but I never managed to make it out…Fridays were always notorious for lab meetings, or getting up early for power yoga, or having to frantically get clinic work caught up on, so I didn’t want to stay out too late on a Thursday. I’m so happy I finally went, and so excited to go to more of them in the future. It was such a great and friendly collection of people, so many interesting bikes and a potent feeling to be riding en flock. We took off from Festival Beach, one of my favorite areas by Town Lake that always reminds me of marathon training with Claire, and rode the streets of Austin as the sunset lit up the sky with glorious streaks of pink and gold, silhouetting the skyline as it said goodnight. It was a new adventure and a first for me, but also with familiar undertones. It reminded me of summers in Pennsylvania, where my sister and I would bike all day long. After dinner, our neighbor, Nick, would join us and we’d ride all evening until the sun went down, riding up this one huge hill (seriously…we lived on a mountain where huge hills abound), and then we’d race as fast as possible the quarter of a mile all the way to the bottom, and do it all over again. Nick always won, but Claire and I still tried. It was fun to have that familiar feeling back, to have that posse sensation and that connection with one hundred other Austinites who like to play like proud children on their two wheelers.

 

🙂

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