We naturally move through cycles of feeling enthusiastic and not so enthusiastic about our yoga practice (I know I do anyway!). Doubts arise about our physical ability and achievements, about why we are spending this time making shapes on a sticky mat. If we’re not careful we get lost in a fog of active wear, instagram!
Sometimes we need to strip it back to the bones, as distilled in the various writing of the guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois:
“Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.”
“Yoga is an internal practice. the rest is just a circus.”
“Do your practice and all is coming.”
Or, just keep doing yoga and don’t worry about all the other crap that’s coming up. It’s all “vrittis” (mental modifications, waves on the surface of the mind, altering perceptions) which will be soothed by practising yoga.
Five ways to keep it real:
1. Forget about goals. Just because you can’t make the same shape as the bendy person next to you, you are still doing yoga. Keep practising, stop striving. In time the body will open but only if you let it by being kind and patient.
2. If your mind won’t be still, or “empty” (impossible btw), that’s OK. Just observe what’s coming up, without judgement or attaching to the thoughts.
3. Enjoy the experience in the very moment you are practising yoga, don’t miss it. At the end of the class, let it go. Forget the sequence, the asanas you “couldn’t do”, those you could, it doesn’t matter.
4. Get into the habit of a regular yoga practice, be it 3, 5 or 7 times per week for 10, 60 or 90 minutes. It’s all about the doing, the rest will come.
5. Remember your breath and soften your face, even when it gets tough.
I look forward to seeing you in one of my classes soon.