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Day 1: I lay in bed for a good 45 minutes on the Sunday morning that I decided to dedicate my life to yogic philosophy. My 10-year-old came in for a cuddle. The cat interrupted my practice by scratching my yoga mat and it was about four degrees outside. I had lots of reasons not to get out of bed not to make that commitment to yoga. But finally as I lay there and thought about the goals and dreams I had for how I wanted to live my life, I realised that what I want will not happen without some action from me. I needed to make a commitment to yoga if I wanted it to be a part of my life. So I did.
I have a list of things that I want to do and practicing meditation and yoga daily is one of them. There’s a saying that’s circulating around social media and it goes like this:
“Make a list of things that make you happy.
Make a list of things you do every day.
Compare the lists.
I wish I knew who said it so I can credit them with a link or thanks, but I can’t find anything. This philosophy is at the heart of my yogic commitment. I can’t complain that I never did anything if I don’t take daily action to make it a reality. I can’t complain about not finishing writing my novel if I don’t sit down every day and write it. I can’t complain about never becoming a yoga teacher if I don’t take steps towards it, I can’t complain about not studying in India if I haven’t made any steps towards it. I can’t complain about stress if I don’t take known actions that help it, like daily meditation. I can’t complain about not getting what I want done, if I continue doing what I’ve always done. I need to take action.
So, I got out of bed and started put on some music by Deva Premal (www.devapremalmiten.com) with some sun salutations before moving into my favourite poses, Warrior II, tree and standing poses, forward bend, and headstand and plank variations. I love yoga. I always have. It took me a long time to realise that not all yoga teachers are created equal and not all yoga styles are for me. Finding a teacher you both connect to and who speaks your ‘yoga speak’ is not always easy. There are some fantastic teachers out there; you just have to find the one that resonates with you. The saying ‘you have to kiss a lot of frogs’ is pertinent here! But once you find yoga teachers who work for you, it’s a beautiful relationship that you can both develop.
Only once in my life have I ever felt like getting up and walking out of a class. It was a beautiful young woman who I think was about 18, she had a lovely manner, soft voice and very capable. The problem was that the style she was teaching, Kundalini Yoga. In my 20-odd years of coming to and from yoga, this, I had never encountered. I have done plenty of work on myself through Kundalini dance and meditations to help raise Kundalini, but the breath-work in this style to control energy almost felt superfluous, flow of energy is something I find easy to do. Also as an asthmatic in the depths of winter, it was uncomfortable to say the least. I contemplated packing up and walking out, but I didn’t want to insult the instructor, but more so, I wanted to see if there were any other barriers within me that was blocking my full participation. Was it that I was craving more activity through the asanas (or poses) or to feel more control because I wasn’t sure what was going on? I’m not afraid of making noise in class and I’m often the one doing the heavy breathing and I’m definitely not shy to participate during the pranayama or sound practice at the end. So, I concluded that I would sit in meditation through the class instead of leaving and get to the heart of my desire to run. Ultimately, as someone who loves Iyengar yoga, I found it, well, not for me. Looking around the class, though, there were plenty of people who clearly did enjoy this style and that’s okay. It’s just not what I need at this point. Maybe another time, it will work for me, but not right now. I’m not saying never again and in-fact, it’s important that I have another go at it to just make sure, but when I go back I’ll need my puffer close by!
So, after my first day of commitment to my new path, I’m excited about what lays ahead. I’m committed to the yogic path and deepening my practice and that begins with a dedicated home practice and commitment to the yogic lifestyle. It also means that I will attend a variety of classes and build my knowledge of the various styles and how different people teach. I hope that someone will gift me $5000 so I can do an amazing course that I’ve found!! In the interim, I’m going to do some research and build up my knowledge about how I can not only build my collection of asanas and knowing their Sanskrit names, but also build my knowledge in the deeper philosophies behind yoga, the Eight Limbs, which ultimately is why I want to do the course, not to be a yoga teacher, but to deepen my own practice and commit to a yogic lifestyle. Yoga is more than just going to a class, it is truly about the lifestyle and I want that, I want to flow in that space all the time, not just once a week in a class. I’m not saying I won’t teach it, I’m open to all possibilities, but for me, I’m thirsty for knowledge and in the absence of cash, for now, I’m on my own to teach myself as much as I can.
Maybe you can join me on this journey.
©2015 Alyssa Curtayne
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