I got into yoga because there was a free class I could walk to. Yoga wasn’t in my plans (or budget) but I thought that even better than taking a day off from running, I could get a different type of workout in. (This was during a stressful time in my life – I used workouts for self-care/sanity.)
I began to fall in love though. I fell in love with the person I remembered that I really was, beyond the stress and frustration at work or in relationships. I remembered how my soul ached to be bathed in (and bathe others in) compassion. I loved the calling into love that I knew but didn’t always experience. I loved that I could embody and practice my philosophy, my values, my faith.
So I became a yoga hopper. I did classes at almost all of the studios in town. When I traveled, I couldn’t wait to look up studios and visit. To learn new moves, experience new styles, and glean wisdom from new teachers. I was soaking it up.
Then, one winter, I got it into my head that I was interested in teacher training. I loved how the teacher I went to the most (also a free class, mind you) moved in her body. She had such freedom and power in her movements, her voice, and her presence. I wanted more of that. I also am the personality type that wants to know why and what and more and how (did I miss my calling as an engineer?)… so I needed to get deeper into these questions and find some answers. I signed up and paid in full.
After a 12-day intensive with our teacher, we were told that we now had to go home and practice on our own and NOT go to other teachers’ classes. WHAT?!?! I mean I had done a little yoga on my own before that. In hotel rooms, usually in dire circumstances without a class. What would I do? How would I know what pose to do when and how could I learn without a teacher? She weaned us with a custom “routine” to do for three weeks. After that, it was up to each of us.
I got sick of her routine. I longed to do anything else. And there I was, at the end of three weeks, with an empty mat. It was up to me to make an hour a day happen (since I was in training I was doing at least this much a day – not true anymore). I started by doing some Sun Salutations. I knew those from my Ashtanga-inspired teachers. And then I did some Warrior poses. And then, all of a sudden, my body started ASKING me for poses. My hip flexors almost begged for a lunge. My hamstrings groaned with gratitude when I did forward bends. The joy/agony/release of each pose was already known by my body. I learned to listen. To trust. To know the voice of a deeper part of me than just my head.
And a home practice was born. Not without struggle. Oh man, I am good at coming up with urgent things that must be done on my computer, on my phone, around my house, “for someone else”… to avoid going to my mat. I struggle to give myself time to be with me, to gain clarity and compassion. And honestly, I still don’t understand why this is a human struggle, but it is. It is good for me, it is good for others, and yet I avoid it. Maybe I’ll have more for you in another decade of learning. (See some posts on meditation to help clear the way.)
Do you have a home yoga practice? What are your struggles? What helps you carve out time for you and your body/soul?
Check out Part 2 next week for some ideas on creating your own home practice!