by Eva Shaw
Recently, I traveled to New York City on a Yogic adventure. From the moment I stepped off the plane I could feel the electrical pulse that permeates this city. I was excited to say the least as I prepared myself to embrace my adventure in meeting a couple of great yogic masters Dharma Mittra and Guy Donahaye. Each were equally amazing, and both changed my view of what therapeutic yoga is. After bustling through the over stimulating Times Square, I trekked downstairs into a Shala (yoga house or studio), where the creaking floor was silenced only by the overstimulation of breath work.
No words were spoken in this space, just touch and meditative movement. Soon my breath brought me into my inner peace. I surrendered and didn’t question as I was pushed and relaxed into different postures. My mind softened and my body opened. I am used to this type of transformation. However, the power of Ashtanga seemed stronger this day. I’m not sure if it was because of my consistent and continuous practice, or if being in New York City supercharged my practice that day. As I left, the word tristhana (breath, focus and postures), remained fixed into my mind.
My breath, gazing point, and posture had shifted inward. No longer was I focused on the lights and photo people hustling for tips, instead I was calm. Was therapy about how deep I had gotten into a posture? No. This time it was about the transformation within my mind to see depth within another person and their Brahman within (the god within them). No longer was anyone against me, but instead all are there to transform me, just like the practice.
My second experience lead me to Dharma Mittra’s Shala. As I walked in, the Hindu devotional music, Hanuman Chalisa was blasting while invigorating bright colors were swept across the walls and decorations. There were about forty people sprinkled around room some were laughing while others were upside down or in holding postures.
Although, Dharma Mittra is physically small, his presence silences the room as he decides to begin class. He speaks with two words at a time and we don’t do one sun salutation, but I feel myself begin to soften. This time I don’t soften from adjustments or soft words, but from the movement and longer holds. The energy is invigorating and pushes me to surrender as I hold and remain focused. When I leave the room, I feel an inner happiness as my lips form into a smile.
There were no alignment tips or focus on perfecting a pose, instead I was pushed into an inner place of contentment. I found therapy in the postures and inner contentment. I left his Shala feeling the therapy taking its hold and although I was tired, I was happy.
Once my plane touched the ground, so did my freedom within. My inner therapy allowed me to find peace from others arrows, or hurtful actions, instead I reflected on their inner Brahman and demons that destroy their inner peace. I prayed for all those I come in contact with to have this peace, this contentment, this desire to heal. How can we have internal contentment without the desire to help and heal others? The therapy didn’t come external, but from internal contentment. Om shanti, shanti, shanti- let me send out and attract peace, peace, peace to the universe and to all.
Eva Shaw competed, performed, and taught dance for over 15 years. The similarities of dance and Vinyasa yoga, hooked her into the Yoga world. She attained her 200- hour through At One Yoga and completed her 500- hour through Dave’s Astanga Yoga. She has trained under numerous teachers and thanks John Salisbury, Scott Page, and Jenn Chiarelli for their patience and guidance.
Her passion is in Ashtanga Yoga and uses her breath, consistent practice, and a focused mind to detoxify while moving into her own subtle body. Here is where she finds deep meditation, strength, and the victorious breath.
Her passion in Ashtanga Yoga is the driving force behind creating Ashtanga Yoga Phoenix along with her husband Jason, their son Isaiah and authorized level II teacher, Lisa Schrempp. Their combined vision is to grow and expand the Ashtanga Yoga Community.