“Why I Practice” by Authorized Level II Ashtanga Teacher Fiona Stang – Ekaminhale
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“Why I Practice” by Authorized Level II Ashtanga Teacher Fiona Stang


If you live in Vancouver Fiona could be your teacher. She has been teaching Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga for 16 years as Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver and was a student of Sri K Pattabhi Jois. She also teaches workshop around the world. - Learn more here or email her at Fiona@ashtangayogavancouver.com 

My first practice with Guruji was 1999 in Mysore, India. Guruji shouted out at me, "Why fearing?" in one of my harder postures.

One of the reasons that I practice is to see my patterns. Practice is a gift to the soul.

In my early years of practice, I arrived with expectations. The posture should look like this. I should be able to do this today, since I did it yesterday.

As time passed and practice continued, I learned that practice was just about showing up and arriving. Practice is being aware. Practice is being intrigued with how the body and mind are responding in the moment.

I love that some days I'm flexible. I love that some days I'm strong. Some days I'm stiff. Some days I'm weak.

Bad practices, if I can call them that, allow for good practices. Nowadays, I do not really look at them as bad or good. I look at them as where I am in that moment, in my body and in my mind. My body and mind translate onto the mat and invite me to be aware and conscious.

Practice is never the same, like life itself, has its ebbs and flows, but we always return to the mat. The dedication remains.

The dedication moves beyond the physical form of the posture. Some days the form might look great, whatever great means. But some days it might not look great, but it is what it is. It is practice and I showed up.

Good, bad, up or down, left or right, it is practice and I show up. That's what matters.

I like to think I can perform the postures when I'm happy, sad, up or down, left or right. And it's important to experience it in all mindsets. Eventually, we can move beyond what we think we can do, or cannot do, and just be present with what we are in that moment.

To me, practice is connecting with myself. It's moving beyond the body, moving beyond the mind. As soon as a breath takes over, I connect breath into Vinyāsa, posture into breath, and breath into posture. Then there is this great stillness and this incredible flow.

Grace. Practice is grace. Practice is peace.

Practice is a gift to the soul; an opportunity to be aware and present.


FIONA STANG first journeyed to Mysore in 1999 where she met her teacher Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson, Sharath Rangaswamy. Fiona continued to study with Guruji to receive his teachings of devotion, grace, faith, compassion, patience, and yoga. In 2000, Fiona was authorized to teach by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, and in July 2009, she was in the first group of 40 students worldwide to receive Level 2 Authorization. Fiona is the director and teacher at Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver. Visit their website at Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver


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Keep practicing,



  • Fay Lee

    Thank you for this! So inspiring as to “why” the practice is important.

  • COrinne LAndolt

    Thanks a lot for sharing ! I feel that will be encouraging me in my practice.I’m 54 years and I was starting Ashtanga last year… And feel like struggling sometimes !So I ‘m grateful to know that it’s quite normal to be in sometimes" good" and sometimes not!

  • biddy

    Your words are exactly my thoughts…’show up, thats what matters… practice is about connecting with myself,breathe in grace and peace, be aware, be present… thanks for sharing..

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