58 Vinyasas

58 vinyasas. That’s the best count I could get out of the ashtanga book I use. If I did the full primary series, I would hit 58 vinyasas.

5 for the first round of sun salutations. 15 for the second round of sun salutations. 3 for the standing sequence. 31 for the primary series. And 4 for the road in the finishing sequence.

58 vinyasas.

58 chaturangas. 58 up dogs. 58 down dogs.

My shoulders are achy just thinking about that. And that’s exactly what I want.

Yesterday, I tried a new class with a new teacher. It was a slow, deliberate pace. I worked up a sweat. And somehow, I was still a bit dissatisfied. It wasn’t a bad class. I plan to go back, but I was still dissatisfied.

But why?

I had excess energy when I left. I’d gotten used to creating puddles of sweat that I could collapse into for shavasana. This class didn’t do that for me.

Oh how far we’ve come.

3 years ago when I started at this studio, this would have been a perfect class for me. In fact, it was. My Goldilocks teacher stressed a slow, deliberate practice, and I loved it. Last night was very reminiscent of that teacher’s class. They even shared the same first name.

The stars all lined up, but it turns out I’d moved somewhere along the way. I’ve become a new version of me.

This had me thinking about the changes that had occurred. 18 months ago, this was still a pretty ideal class for me. And then I started ashtanga.

Did ashtanga ruin slower classes for me? Maybe.

There’s no getting around the fact that I think of ashtanga as my core practice. It’s what I do at home now. When I think about what yoga is, I think of ashtanga. I think of 58 vinyasas.

Sort of.

I’ve never done all of them. There’s never time in class to do all the poses and vinyasas in between. And since I’ve gone after ashtanga at home with a bad knee, some poses are just off limits.

But I know what’s out there. 58 vinyasas.

So when I think of yoga, I think of 58 vinyasas. I think of tired shoulders. I think of sweat dripping off my face onto the mat. I think of moving with my breath. I think of the sweet rejoice of hitting shoulder stand and knowing that I’m not far from getting to collapse into my puddle of sweat and just breathe.

If that’s yoga, then what was I doing last night?

It was still yoga, but it was yoga light. I need a new high. As I’ve pushed myself further in yoga and as I lost running as an outlet for the foreseeable future, I started chasing a new high.

There are other highs, but they’re detrimental in the long run. Yoga was my way of dealing with stress in a positive way. And I’ve got a lot of stress right now.

Productive unproductivity.

This isn’t the only place I try to use this philosophy, but this is the only application that’s relevant here. If I’m going to chase a high, then I can at least chase a high that will leave me a little better off at the end of the day.

So 58 vinyasas.

I burned up my body on Tuesday with my ashtanga practice. I warmed it up yesterday in class. I let it coast today with the sun salutations. All for the high of chasing 58 vinyasas.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to find on this quest for 58 vinyasas. Maybe I’m hoping to find a better version of myself. Maybe I’m just trying to make sure I’m just trying to stay present when I’m on the two- by six-foot piece of PVC.

Either way, pretty sure tomorrow I’ll be trying to get a little closer to 58 vinyasas.

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