Bringing It Home

I have learned that the home practice brings a whole new element to the term discipline. As a mother, part time student, yoga teacher, and business consultant; time is of the essence.  Traveling to my source of yoga practice daily, or even 3 times a week, is super challenging as I am usually bound to deal with some issue going or coming from practice. With husband and baby depending on me to be back by a certain time it has created stress in my life where I don’t need it.

It basically resulted in me also being very conditional with my practice, which, is not good.

Recently, I quit placing ‘conditions’ of perfection around my practice but rather learn  to just practice. In my mind, the home practice cultivates the ultimate guide on your mat in in your life, the ultimate being….YOU.

A couple of things that have helped me.

  • Begin by finding a space that will work for you.
  • Observe the space with import as this intention will help you keep it clean. This will reduce likelihood of wanting to pounce out of your down dog to put away clothes or begin dusting  (been there).
  • Try to be consistent in your efforts and the time you can practice.  Remember effort is different than achievement.  Focus on effort.
  • Practice for the sake of practicing.
  • Don’t be afraid to start small (even if you have a FULL practice). It’s the small changes that are more likely to stick.  25 minutes of quality practice is awesome!!!
  • Approach your home practice like Mysore practice.  Do a little at a time and just let it begin.  Remember “BEST IS THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD”.
  • As Prem and Heather say – “Quality NOT Quantity”

The benefits of practice are attained by consistency of effort.   A home practice is very different than being with a group or even in a Mysore room, by nature of the energy surrounding it (mentally and physically).  It requires a little more effort mentally but also a little more ‘softness’ in the approach.  My relationship with the practice and with myself has changed as a result, to become softer and less rigid on the mat (and in life).

Oftentimes students become crippled without a teacher or the group, and this is not the point of the discipline.   It has taken me years to learn this. The idea is to be able to use the tools provided, so that we can come into ourselves,  by ourselves.

Showing up is 75% of the battle, and a home practice really nails the concept of just showing up for yourself.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?

As they say in Mysore, “You try.”

Sandra

NOTES:

This does not replace some good quality time with a qualified instructor or guide.  A teacher/guru is essential in working through many of the road blocks along the way.  Just sayin’.

Also, this concept is not just applicable to Ashtanga yoga…The Art Of Practice applies to our lives, it’s just this particular discipline has helped me recognize the benefits of just approaching many things like ‘practice’.

This Morning I Practiced – By Eric Jeffers

This writing is from Eric Jeffers, who wrote a note on Facebook, which made its way around.  When I sometimes feel that yoga is too much about a teacher or a ‘rockin’ playlist…I get a gentle reminder of why the Ashtanga lineage has meant so much to me.

Silence, independence, learning to trust and believe in yourself…exactly where you are.

This morning I practiced.

It was very simple. I unrolled a mat, said a few words softly to myself, and began.

Nobody asked me to open or expand anything. I was not instructed to take anything from one level to another. No one asked me to melt any part of my body. It was never suggested that I should embody some concept or another. I didn’t hear anyone speak their truth. No one assured me that I could manifest anything I wanted. It was never suggested that I would be happier if I bought some new product. I wasn’t told to pursue any bliss. Spirit was neither mentioned nor invoked. No one used the word energy. Nobody implied that I could be stronger, more beautiful or more free than I currently am.

In fact, no one spoke at all.

I spent two hours moving through a familiar sequence of poses. I did this practice in a warm, quiet room listening to my breath and the breath of those practicing nearby. I was assisted by a gentle and patient human being who, for the most part, left me alone to do my work. At the end of my practice, I lay on the floor completely still for a long time.

When I was done, I quietly left. People smiled at me on my way out. I smiled at them.

I will practice again tomorrow.