I explored Tim Miller’s website last night and particularly enjoyed this brief piece about how Ashtanga essentially got started in North America. I was especially fascinated by the commitment of some of those early Encinitas yogis – their ‘austerity and authenticity’ as Miller puts it. I take a look at my practice (I’m mean the whole eight limbs) and realise that I’m a faint and unremarkable adherent in comparison. But I feel more inspired by their example than chastised. They provide the model.
I accept that there are things they did (as single guys, seemingly unattached and uncommitted to anything but Yoga) that I cannot do. For example, if I could sell our house and slap down cash for a townhome close to a studio. I could practice everyday with an authorised teacher. I would be able to negotiate terms at work that offered me less pay but the chance to get off to Mysore every year – money would be no issue without a mortgage to worry about. That’s not going to happen though because I don’t get to make these choices on my own. And even if I could, I don’t know if I would. I like our estate – these two acres will be wonderful to practice on in the years ahead – such idyllic practices under that maple there, or in middle of that grove of cherry trees here. I dream of building a retreat in a couple of years. A cedar cabin far from the airconditioned house but winterized with a wood stove; this pastoral (relative) wilderness is so much more attuned to developing my practice than a townhouse in the city.
Anyway, speaking of the city, reading Miller made me think hard about finding a way to practice at a studio in the company of other yogis. The logistics are the tricky thing – There are 3 authorized teachers in Toronto (that I know of) and all of them are downtown – a long way from where I live and quite some distance from my company’s office – but fortunately they are kind of on the way (although requiring me to loop south into downtown and then up north out on my eastward journey into the office). I think I’m going to do it. This month on the days when I go in, en route to the office I’ll stop in for a practice. Here’s where I’m thinking of practicing.