I hope you are in good health, staying warm, and keeping your spirits high!
I would also like to share with you some of my thoughts and reflections on my own personal journey on the path of yoga.
About 13-14 years ago I was an enthusiastic yoga practitioner, I went 3-4 times a week to a local yoga studio and loved it. I have been doing that for a few years and it was a big part of my life. I could really feel the benefits of yoga in my body, mind, my relationships with others, and my choices in life. I was slowly getting more and more curious about what yoga is really about, where it came from, and how I can take it to the next level.
It was like an itch that I had to keep on scratching.
A teacher who noticed my enthusiasm suggested that I start doing some practice at home, that's the next step (he said..).
I remember very clearly the first time I tried to practice by myself. I cleared floor space in my tiny living room, I unrolled the yoga mat and stood at the front of it with my feet together in Samasthiti. That moment is still fresh in my mind because I remember how clueless I felt. I have been practicing yoga enough to be familiar with all the relevant postures and movements, and yet my mind was drawing a blank. It was quite discouraging.
I rolled my mat and put it away with bitter disappointment and developed a bit of a self-practice-phobia.
It took a few months and a change of mind-set for me to give it another try. To be honest, at first I had to use DVDs of my favorite teachers as tools to help unblock the resistance I had to practicing alone in the room (yes, DVD was still a thing back then:). It was later on that a switch kind of flipped and some confidence seemed to just pop up and I allowed myself to just go for it.
After some some trial and error I took some formal training and studied things more in-depth to finally reach a place of steady, consistent and effective self-practice.
The wonderful thing about a personal yoga self-practice is that it keeps evolving, it is a living organism that grows, matures, develops and unfolds. It is a profound journey that can only happen on the mat while paying attention closely to the experience moment by moment, being guided by the breath.
This is how yoga was meant to be practiced!
The guidance of a teacher should play the role of encouragement, inspiration and education, but the daily practice is where we make our strides.
What makes yoga self-practice so beneficial?
It makes us self-sustainable, self-reliant, independent and free to do our practice anywhere anytime.
It allows us to choose a practice that fits perfectly our individual needs, limitations and potential. Some days we feel low in energy, other days we feel we need to release our shoulders, sometime we want to do a handstand.
It has a potential to go much deeper, with little distraction and an experience of intimacy with our own body, breath, mind.
It is a jumping point to exploration of more aspects and layers of the yoga tradition, philosophy, and path, leading us to interesting places that come organically from our practice.
It is cheaper!
Of course there are great benefits to joining a group guided class with a teacher, and it is probably useful to do it once a week maybe even twice. But if you can add 2-3 practices every week at home, even if they are only 15-20 minutes long, the benefits will multiply exponentially.
Wishing you a happy, restful and peaceful month of holidays full of love!
Looking forward to seeing you in yoga :)
With love and gratitude,
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