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Why Ashtanga?

By Ashley

I started practicing ashtanga yoga 3 years ago, and have been practicing ever since. Once I walked into my first class, I never looked back. I remember feeling like I knew I had found a tool that could help me for the rest of my life.

This practice is so important to me, which is why I am so passionate about sharing it with others. There are many reasons why I practice ashtanga yoga, but there are a few that stand out and continue to help me show up each day.

Seeing growth and progress

Growing, evolving, and becoming a better version of myself is what helps me get to the top of my mat each day. It’s not about the poses, but what the poses can teach us. Sometimes it’s hard to see change and progress in our life off of the mat, especially when it’s small. But something I’ve learned is that my mat is a mirror. Things that are happening during practice, the way I respond to challenges, the way I talk to myself, etc— are also things that are happening in my life off of my mat. Seeing all of the progress, change, and growth during my practice has helped me see all I’m truly capable of in life. It’s opened my eyes and has really changed my outlook on who I am, and all I can do in this world.

Having a teacher

To me, this is probably the most important and special part of ashtanga yoga. Having a teacher who knows you, knows your practice, and believes in you— is so very important. We do a lot of hard things, and having a teacher you trust is essential. I’ve practiced with Melissa for 3 years, and she’s helped me in so many ways. I’ve learned to open up, trust in myself, and believe in my capabilities. Oftentimes she’s believed in me before I’ve believed in myself, and that’s meant everything. It’s helped me realize that I can and will figure things out, even if it’s something that seems impossible at the time.

Finding community

We all strive for connection and community. More importantly, we want to be understood and seen. I honestly found my home when I found ashtanga yoga. The incredible people I have met and connections I have made along the way have meant absolutely everything to me. Being a part of the community at PA yoga excites me so much. I can’t wait to practice, learn, and continue to grow with this community of yogis!

Practice, for me, is a non- negotiable. Oftentimes it’s hard to fit it in, but it’s always worth it. It is my calm in the chaos of the day. Most of all, it helps me show up as the best version of me, for all of my people. That’s why I continue to show up, and give myself the opportunity to do better. It’s a gift to be able to practice and teach, and I’m grateful for it every single day.

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