Thursday, March 27, 2014

WHO ARE YOU WHEN IT'S QUIET?

Life is about change and growth. Wow, aren't we in a growth stage right now with changes to our local class schedule. What a wonderful opportunity to shake out our wings from the habitual place we have been flying and find a different way to embrace the sky!

In the past few weeks since we dropped one of our local classes, I have received many emails stating how hard it is to practice yoga alone. Many people have shared that "it's just not the same without the class setting". I agree - it's not the same. The good news is - it's not meant to be the same! We are creatures of together and alone; of give and take; of with and without; of society and silence. Life is opposition on all levels, from every angle, in all things. Isn't it wonderful!

Ask yourself - who are you in a group? Then ask - who are you when it's quiet? How do we continue to be our true selves when it is only us watching? Are our thoughts, actions, beliefs and goals still the same when no one else is looking? What a challenge to be authentic, if only for ourselves!

So, how can we begin to feel comfortable within our own skin regardless of the surroundings? By recognizing that one-size doesn't fit all circumstances. If you have a great time doing yoga in a class setting, but struggle to do the same practice on your own - DON'T DO THE SAME PRACTICE! Who said our self-directed practice had to be just like the class? Probably, someone who liked to do it that way! Next time you are on your own for an asana practice (that means postures on the mat), just sit for a minute and listen to what your body wants to do today. Then do it!

Does it matter if you hold the postures shorter or longer than in a class - NO! Does it matter if we practice for a shorter or longer time than in a class - NO! Does it matter if our intensity is the same as class - NO! All these things come with time and patience. Why should we be good at doing self practice if we have never done it? Just like it took time to learn yoga in a class setting, now we need to give ourselves time to learn in our new setting.

Remember, there are no rules to what makes up a personal asana practice. As you sit on your mat and listen to what your body wants to do, also listen to what your mind and spirit want to do. Maybe today, your personal practice will be to simply absorb the music as you allow yourself to remain still. Maybe it will be to invite friends to explore practice together. Maybe the day will be warm and your practice will be a walk in nature. Don't limit yourself to "putting your foot around your head"! It doesn't really come in handy in day-to-day life and it's really embarrassing if you get stuck there!

Finally, embrace this new challenge just as you embraced the challenge of beginning yoga - with anxiousness, nervousness, and excitement for what is to come! And realize - you are still "you" when it's quiet.

Namaste, LeAnne