I left the midwest because it was too easy there for me. Even though it wasn't easy, it was still within my comfort zone. It was easy for me to teach there because I'd taken time to grow a community of students, to share personal time with them in the classroom, but also outside the classroom. In my park class I showed my real self and created bonds with people because of that there as well. So I could mostly make a living there, not a great living, but a living none the less. I was surrounded by friends and family when wanted or needed. It was very comfortable.
Every time I get comfortable I stop growing. I know that may sound harsh, but for me its mostly true. Now I could get deeper into my own personal practices and grow in some ways but mostly I would get more and more into my own head and find reasons to not get out and do things, but to hide away and become more reclusive. Or ways to just stay in my head more and more, and for me that is death.
Going to India for the first time three years ago, yes it was only three years ago even though it was four trips and seems like a decade or more ago, was the biggest time I've been outside my comfort zone. I was entering a very hot place overweight (for me) and having been less active than I had been in years and began to sweat immediately and walk everywhere and do this strong, dynamic yoga daily whether I liked it or not. Had a teacher yelling at me and holding me accountable for doing my practice for the first time in most of my practice life. Made friends that I'm still friends with now and have been in India each of the four trips with. Ate a lot of spicy food that changed my palette to such a degree that now I don't really love much else, other than falafel too...lol. And so many other things.
But most of all, I was uncomfortable. I was being forced into the fullest version of Supta Kurmasana I'd ever been able to muster and stopped there because I couldn't do it fully, no one had ever stopped me before! Once I finally got it and finished primary I was immediately started on standing up and dropping back even though that hadn't been a requirement before in my early practice years when I was doing intermediate and learning Advanced A series. I was hot, it was like 92 degrees fahrenheit in the middle of the night for gods sake. My friend who I was sharing a room with was going through her own stuff, and trust me, our stuff did not mix well at all. My nerves were fried and my body shaky.
But slowly I adjusted and when I finally got home after those almost 8 weeks away I was sad to have to leave, but no matter that, India has never been comfortable each time I've gone back. But each time I've gotten a bit more easy with being their version of uncomfortable and grown to love it and consider it home. When I go back I'll go to the north which is hear is super outside most westerners comfort zone, so we'll see how that goes.
Now enter Germany. I'm getting more comfortable, even though I didn't think I would. But I'm still adjusting and the students are great. I'll have more to write on this as my time here grows but for now I'll leave it with that much.
But I do feel I'm growing here. It's colder again, so my body has tried to close up and make practice harder, again. Which is frustrating especially since I opened up so much in Mysore this year. But I'm feeling more like I did when I first began yoga. I'm more into watching the videos of Pattabhi teaching again like I used to, and using that to build my fire for my practice. I'm chanting my yoga sutras again more regularly, almost daily and I love the way chanting Sanskrit makes me feel. I'm reading more and being inspired more by the inisights coming up from this and my practices. I'm teaching more here, morning and night Mysore and that taking a lot from me, but also forcing me to pull from a deeper place to get up in the morning and do my practice before morning class and that is deepening my connection with my own spirit again.
So growth is happening, again and yes, continually. It's nice to feel it and be with it. To once again be present with it and be enjoying it.
There is a recent article stating that Ashtanga is not fun. And it talks about yoga trying to be fun for people and the the western approach that's brought that ideal up. And while Ashtanga can be fun, yes sometimes it can be, it is not fun. But it in enjoyable because you feel your growth, you can measure your physical changes and achievements against themselves the day before (if that's something you feel the need to do) and you can see and feel the ease one day, the tightness the next, the openness the next, the laziness the next, the strength the next, the fat the next, the thinness the next, the deeper twists the next, the tough backhanding the next, the easy backbending the next, etc...ad infinitum!
It's good. I like it. Even when I'm hating it, I still love it.