Ekaminhale is excited to announce the upcoming publication : Strength and Grace
Featuring essays by:
Kino MacGregor, Harmony Lichty, Louise Ellis, Krista Shirley, Fiona Stang, Lisa Schrempp, Magnolia Zuniga, Pamela Luther, Zoe Ward, Laruga Glaser, Lori Brungard and Kathy Cooper.
Over the coming weeks we'll be releasing excerpts from the upcoming book which will be available for free download on a TBD date. It will also be available in hardcopy form priced at the cost of the printing. This project was made possible by the volunteer work of the Alicia Beale and Derick Yu (Project Coordinators), Clint Griffiths and all the teachers involved.
In the this excerpt from the book Pamela Luther talks about the importance of finding the feminine quality in the practice so it can be sustainable, healing and ultimately lead to lasting happiness. Her full essay goes deeply into what that means for moon days, ladies holidays, pregnancy and what Guruji referred to as the 7th series - parenting.
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Acceptance and Surrender - By Pamela Luther
"Of course, it goes without saying that Ashtanga can be, and is, a physically demanding practice for those who have that capacity. It is also a hard, strong and intense journey to go deeply into your being and have a very honest look at yourself, your habits, your conditioning, and ultimately your soul." - Pamela Luther, Strength and Grace
When I think of Ashtanga yoga, the feelings that first come to me are softness, joy, and healing. Healing on so many levels. When Ashtanga yoga is mentioned out in the world, the words that people often think of are 'hard', 'strong' or 'intense'. It is often the physicality of the practice that gets people's attention. People associate Ashtanga yoga with young, hard, flexible bodies and there is no wonder why that image, bolstered by the yoga media, has become one with Ashtanga. Of course, it goes without saying that Ashtanga can be, and is, a physically demanding practice for those who have that capacity. It is also a hard, strong and intense journey to go deeply into your being and have a very honest look at yourself, your habits, your conditioning, and ultimately your soul. However, when I think of this beautiful practice, I see it accessible to people of all shapes and sizes, ages, and abilities. I think of students who have had missing limbs, others who have been terminally ill, are heart patients, or are in their 70's. I think about how this practice gently creeps into a person's every cell and changes begin to occur on gross and subtle levels. I think of the saltiness of sweat and the one-pointed focus required of powerful asana. I feel the resilience of deep daily dedication and the unwavering spirit of devotion. But, more than anything else, I feel softness, joy, and deep healing.
My first Ashtanga class was like finding a flashlight in the pitch black of night. I couldn't explain what was happening, but I knew it was big, and I knew it was going to be a part of my life from that point on. Somehow my own breath during practice was refilling me with a deep contentment that nothing else ever had - Pamela Luther, Strength and Grace
When Ashtanga came into my life, my body was wrecked from two decades of competitive sports. I was plagued with long term injuries and pain throughout my body as well as a mindset that had grown up on competition and achievement at any cost to my body and well-being. It would have been easy to transfer that mindset into this practice, but I was blessed with early teachers who had decades of experience and a complete belief in this practice as healing, therapeutic, and sustainable. None more than Guruji himself. When I started Ashtanga, I was completely burned out on the ideals of our culture. My success as an athlete and student, things held up so highly in our culture, had given me a lot of grief, stress, pain and a seemingly endless appetite for more success. Regardless of what I won or achieved as an athlete and no matter how much more I learned through books and the academia that surrounded me, there was no lasting happiness, but rather a deep sense of something missing.
My first Ashtanga class was like finding a flashlight in the pitch black of night. I couldn't explain what was happening, but I knew it was big, and I knew it was going to be a part of my life from that point on. Somehow my own breath during practice was refilling me with a deep contentment that nothing else ever had. Somehow I was changing, one practice at a time. Deep surgery was taking place inside me on a physical level, but more importantly on the emotional, energetic and spiritual levels.
Acceptance and surrender, things so foreign to us westerners, creep into our lives as the practice delivers her beautiful wisdom and we begin to realize that acceptance and surrender, softness and receiving, are foundations for lasting happiness. - Pamela Luther, Strength and Grace
Aside from the process of healing my body, re-balancing my energies, and the slow and steady flow of contentment that began to fill me, this practice also put me in touch with the feminine. As it has such a physical component, Ashtanga can appear to be a very masculine practice to those who are newer to it or those merely observing it. Indeed, it begins just that way for almost all of us as we heave and ho, push and muscle our way into the asanas with all our previous conditioning. However, in order for this practice to be truly sustainable, which it must become in order to extract its deepest benefits, it must also become deeply feminine, for all of us, male and female alike. Effortless effort is a very feminine dance. Acceptance and surrender, things so foreign to us westerners, creep into our lives as the practice delivers her beautiful wisdom and we begin to realize that acceptance and surrender, softness and receiving, are foundations for lasting happiness.
To be continued.....
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Pamela Luther is a dedicated student of the Ashtanga Yoga Method and has travelled most years to study with Guruji, Sharath and Saraswathi in Mysore, India since 2001. Pamela has maintained a daily practice for the last 15 years and continues to practice and teach as she has been taught. Pamela was authorized by Guruji and Sharath in 2006. She has level 2 authorization and the blessing to teach the full intermediate series. Pamela currently lives in Australia with her partner Jacob Barr and her little boy Rio. Learn more by visiting www.simplyashtanga.com.