Finding Inner Strength
“They say Ashtanga tends to bring up the things we don’t realize we are struggling with or the things we are unwilling to face. I can attest to that. Like a mirror, it brought me face-to-face with some of my main fears, insecurities, tendencies and resistances,” Oxana Hogan says about her experience of deepening her Ashtanga Yoga practice.
Despite this challenge, Oxana decided to register for the 2016 Maya Yoga Teacher Training Program. It seemed like fate brought her to Maya Yoga: she heard about the training through a friend of her fiancé’s who lived in Kansas City and then an intuitive reader suggested yoga would play a part in her career change. She researched Ashtanga, ironed out the details of attending a Teacher Training three hours away from her home, and committed. “I consider it one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she says solemnly.
“The biggest lesson I learned from going through the Maya Yoga Ashtanga training is that I am stronger that I think I am; that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for.” This lesson was helped her gain freedom from old habits and limiting perspectives. This shift in perspective helped her delve into untapped strength and confidence, she explains. It’s “a heightened awareness of what I am dealing with mentally and emotionally in my life. Instead of just dealing with it, now I notice my internal process. That in itself provides some freedom and creates space where change can occur.”
Why was this so life-changing for Oxana? Her first purposeful study of yoga was also a purposeful beginning to recovery from an eating disorder which she struggled with for nine years. Yoga played a tremendous role in learning to love her body again with acceptance and surrender.
“It taught me that peace is in surrendering. I learned to let go of trying to manipulate my body, accept it the way it is and surrender to every curve of my body — to its fullness, to all its perceived limitations… it has completely transformed how I perceive my body and relate to others.”
The strength of mind, body and spirit is something Oxana intends to share with her community. She wants to find a way “to relay the sacredness and the depth of the practice” and teach all 8-limbs of the Ashtanga system so that others can find strength and surrender through the practice. Oxana is grateful for the inner strength and wisdom she uncovered in her Ashtanga studies. Her favorite quote from Deisikachar’s The Heart of Yoga is a perfect encapsulation of this wisdom.
“Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser, more able to understand things than they were before. If asanas help in this, terrific! If not, then some other means can be found instead. The goal is always, bhakti or… to approach the highest intelligence, namely, God.” – T.K.V. Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga.