As part of the December Reflections posts ( parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) I shared that I am a “bad yoga teacher. ” I said theis because I don’t “do” Yoga everyday; because sometimes my practice is just lying on my mat; and because I don’t practice extreme poses and post pictures on Social media.
It has been something that has been nagging at me (the not doing it daily/being lazy on the mat, not the last social media one) but I got a lot of support (and more than a few “thank goodness I’m not alone”) from the online community with whom I originally shared the photos with. That got me thinking that there is more to this than I really had done before, and that made me want a slightly larger space to explore this in. I am also indebted to May, a fellow yoga teacher I trained alongside who shared a facebook post saying something similar, which made me feel so much better about myself.
When looking at the dear old interweb for things about Yoga you so frequently (particularly on social media) see trendy young things tying themselves in knots and saying (or give the strong impression) that they get up every morning at 5am and spend 2 hours doing yoga (yes I’m being very stereotypical). Depending on how I feel that day I can find this equally inspirational and intimidating.
One of the first Yoga workshops I attended was run by the wonderful Anna Taylor and it was about starting a home practice, and she said that the hardest part about a practice is to get the mat out in the first place. This nugget has stayed with me ever since. There are always other things that need my attention, but getting the mat out is the first step. The mat can come out at anytime of day, it doesn’t have to be first thing if that does not work with you (I’m definitely a night owl, so first thing is an alien concept for me).
Then once on the mat (another important step) it’s good to check in with how our bodies feel that day, what our mind is doing and what we need to do for the rest of the day (or what has been happening before). I often use a modified sun salute as a gauge of what my body feels like, the repetitive movements allow me to judge where is stiff and in need of a little bit more care. Sometimes that short sequence is all I feel able to do, mostly because I have a limited time in which to practice. Sometimes it leads to a lovely long exploration of what my body needs and I could spend much longer than I originally planned on the mat.
Sometimes I just look longingly (ok, maybe guiltily) at my yoga mat rolled up in the corner, and walk out the door. However, what I do instead is to take the quietness of my yoga and meditation practice out into the world as I travel to wherever I am going.
It always the feeling of how yoga makes me feel that brings me back to the mat and enjoying it. Experiencing that without being on the mat is less enjoyable, but still helps to remind me about what I need to do. So still a sense of what is going on inside helps me connect to everything.
I hope that this helped my fellow Interonauts. Let me know over on Facebook what you think.
Thanks for reading,