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, Kathy Cooper and Sharmila Desai
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 Certified Ashtanga Teacher Harmony Lichty talks about the lasting benefits for women who practice Ashtanga. In the full essay, Strength and Devotion she writes on her personal journey, practice during moon cycle, maturing in practice plus developing a disciplined practice when encountering obstacles.
The Inner Strength of Ashtanga Women
In my experience, the Ashtanga Yoga system is incredibly empowering for women; it fosters a deep inner strength. It has certainly helped me to profoundly connect to my centre and cultivate a steadiness and confidence that I never expected.
One of the things that struck me most about being in Mysore that first time was the strength and diversity of the senior women practitioners at the shala. It was obvious that there was not one particular body type, age, or life path that had brought these women to Guruji’s doorstep. Every woman was unique; and yet, all were strong and flexible in different ways and displayed a great deal of devotion and determination. Peering through the shala doors as I waited to be called in, I could observe an incredibly bendy and soft woman practicing beside a strong, compact one and although their practices would exude completely different qualities, both would be moving through the same postures. There were all different sizes and shapes of bodies in that room from every corner of the world. Guruji and Sharath seemed to have an ability to see each practitioner as an individual, and would know how to approach and teach each person in a slightly different way depending on her specific strengths or weakness.
Physically speaking, there was no ideal image of what an Ashtangi should look like, the practice was far beyond that, and it was liberating to come to a place where I could fully accept and embrace my body for what it truly was— a gift.
Many women struggle with their body image, and when I came to this practice I had my own issues still haunting me from my years of dance. However, during that first trip to Mysore I realized that I didn’t need to mould myself into a particular “body type.” It became obvious to me that the practice itself would work to equalize any area where there was a pre-existing imbalance. Physically speaking, there was no ideal image of what an Ashtangi should look like, the practice was far beyond that, and it was liberating to come to a place where I could fully accept and embrace my body for what it truly was— a gift. Different bodies will find different places in this practice where they will excel and other areas where they will be challenged. This is one of the beautiful things about the Ashtanga Yoga Method-- it is holistic in its approach to asana— balancing strength, flexibility, stamina, resistance and surrender all together in various ways throughout.
In those days, there seemed to be a lot more men than women practicing Advanced Series. It is interesting how things have changed over the past decade. Now, there are a greater number of women in Mysore, India than ever before and, consequently, more women than men working on advanced postures.
In my experience, the Ashtanga Yoga system is incredibly empowering for women; it fosters a deep inner strength. It has certainly helped me to profoundly connect to my centre and cultivate a steadiness and confidence that I never expected. Over the years, I have witnessed both students and other female practitioners grow to become direct channels of creative energy and I am continually inspired by their authenticity and integrity as a result of their dedication to this practice.
To be continued.......
To read the full book online, Subscribe as a Member. Click the button below.
Harmony Lichty has been teaching Ashtanga Yoga in the Mysore method for over a decade. She was first introduced to Yoga in 1995, and began practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 2000. She always had a keen interest in spirituality and the art of physical movement, which culminated in fifteen years of dance training and two BA degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies. In 2002 she traveled through China researching Buddhist meditation and in 2004 she made her first trip to Mysore, India. That same year she moved to South East Asia where she began a journey of teaching Yoga Internationally, which allowed her to spend long periods of time practicing with Sri K Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath Jois at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. Harmony was given Authorization by Pattabhi Jois in 2006, and was granted Certification by Sharath Jois in 2015. In 2009, she and her husband Jeff Lichty settled in Victoria, BC and founded Ashtanga Yoga Victoria, where they regularly teach. With the birth of their son Jediah in 2011, the picture is complete – Life is full and Sweet!