Today, I revisited my Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher after several long months of absence.
We spent an hour just chatting—in itself a sign that I’m not the same creature who frequented her shala years ago. Age, perhaps (or life, for the more cosmically-inclined) had expanded my definition of practice.
There was happiness in just sitting at her feet (she was sitting at my feet too, in a joyful little mandala of affection); happiness in just allowing myself to be taught; happiness in just allowing myself to notice all the ways I resisted being taught.
We receive what we are ready to receive; the rest will percolate in its own time, absorbed in rates dictated by the vacuum of necessity.
Outside, birds chirped; cars honked; passersby yelled. Inside, a child toddled across the room; a nanny scuttled after in haste. Inside may as well have been the outside—all that existed was the mandala of our regard.
It was four hours after when I left: easily three times the normal length of time it takes me to practice the Primary Series plus the first third or fourth of the Intermediate Series. Although I practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga much, much less these days, I was probably stronger than I’d ever been.
And for the first time, it didn’t matter.
For the first time, I practiced yoga.