Be Here. Be Home.

This is Your Practice

Your instructor tells you often that this is your practice, it is unique to you and don't worry about what your neighbor is doing. Maybe you get it but, maybe your thinking, this is what you all say . . ., I'm still going to judge myself if I don't stay balancing in that dancer pose like that girl in the front row all the time. This may or may not happen with you this obviously or at all, it is just a way to describe our fears about our own practice. The meat and potatoes here is just to describe that feeling we get about our practice, with sharing the full humility of your practice with others and at times trying to make our practice look like another. This can happen and look differently for each of us. Much more to the idea, even in a led practice in a studio, this practice is yours and only yours. Even if you know that you aren't really judging yourself or others in the room, it can be hard to see where the led class practice ends and yours begins. This is common and I want to show you that no matter where or how you practice, it truly is unique to you.

All of it begins in your body. Getting to know the uniqueness of your range of motion (ROM) to start with and then trying to find out where your right and left side balance peaks, and then learning the extent of your flexibility at any given moment, -as this can change day to day. Honor your body and it's capabilities, as it has the capacity to change. Your mind state has a great deal to do with where your body and your practice will be that day as well. As we say, balance is a state of mind so, be clear on where that is for you that day and don't push the body past the mind. Ease the mind, and the body will begin to follow.

In yoga we say to keep your eyes and your focus on your mat for good reason. You are unique! If your pigeon pose needs to be a figure 4 laying on your back then by all means that is where you go. No amount of mimicking the hip opening by the yogi next to you is going to make your body want to do it exactly the same. Not until your body gives you the okay, deep down in the muscles, that it would like to go further. You begin with where you need to be for a pose and gradually, if your body allows, move into challenging your body and practice by trying new things. Keeping in mind, your hip stretch may always be a figure 4 and that is okay too! This is your practice. The instructors class is merely a guide to open, stretch and enhance certain muscle groups or energy centers in the body, or even where a pose could evolve into but, each pose is yours.

The beauty of a led practice is it gives you inspiration for a home practice. If the bulk of your practicing is a led practice, I invite and encourage you to discover where you could take a sequence at home, where you're led only by your breath and your body. Begin by finding something like a child's pose, perhaps, and develop your breath. Listen to your body. Is it asking to simply stretch the right arm out, or leg or both? Does your body need to lift off the ground and pull up into table top pose? From there do you simply need to stretch the left leg out to the side? Just make sure you end up working both sides evenly. Maybe you then notice your wrists need a little attention, and you just sit back on your heels and do some wrist and shoulder stretching. A home practice is really just as simple as that. There is no need to know all the poses specifically and remember them to a 'T'. Just move your body and let the rest come naturally. Again, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you have been to enough led classes your bound to have some poses in your mind or you can easily look them up online or find a beautiful class on YouTube or other resources. Just remember to make it your own.

Here are some great resources for finding yoga poses or sequences for home practice inspiration!

Happy Practicing Yogis! Own it, it's yours.