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"I’ve done my home practice naked, in the dark, with my eyes closed, listening to my favourite tunes on Pandora, while dancing, in my ugg boots, while listening to guided meditations and sometimes a combination of all of the above. It’s so freeing to be away from the structures of classes and just to allow the intuitive flow guide my practice."
I wouldn’t say I am failing my 365 day yoga challenge, I would say that I probably just need a reboot. I’m at day 185 of my 365 day challenge and I have missed a few days…well, about 20. In December, I was working a lot and started to lose the balance in my life and instead of returning to the yoga mat to get my balance back I just fell into bed at the end of each day. I started slipping into depression, I felt disconnected from myself, the divine, the Earth and the further disconnected I felt, the further my daily yoga practice went from my life.
I love yoga. It is my dedicated time to my body, myself and the earth. It grounds me. It brings stuff up that I thought I have dealt with and most importantly, it forces me to be in the moment. I have no great ambition to be one of those hyper-flexible impossibly super-humans that you see across Instagram, but I do want it to be a part of my daily existence. More importantly, I see yoga philosophy as how I live my life; the concept of loving kindness to all things. And, it makes me happy.
If I look through the literature on the Eight Limbs of Yoga, both Pratyahara (Control of the Senses) and Dharana (Concentration and cultivation inner perceptual awareness) are skills that require mastery. In no way am I able to spend my whole life in meditation, as much as I’d love to, but then that almost seems somewhat of an escape from the human life experience. We are here to experience the physical reality, but also to find a balance between our esoteric selves and the dense energies of the physical.
We are having a human experience and like all things, yoga is a tool, which through the yoga philosophies creates a lifestyle that works for me. I don’t have to be doing it every day, but I do need to be cultivating a sense of the witness and applying the experience of being at one with the universe and being in the moment to my every day.
I can see how my working so much last year led to my depressive episode in December and it’s only now that I am starting to feel that connection to myself again and as a result, I feel ready to return to my committed practice, even if it’s only five minutes a day. Some days I walk over my mat and I think, “I should do that”, but I don’t! In no way do I want to be forcing myself to do yoga, I want to bring my joy to it. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, it should feel like something that is a part of my life.
Interestingly, it’s been an amazing journey, I’ve done my home practice naked, in the dark, with my eyes closed, listening to my favourite tunes on Pandora, while dancing, in my ugg boots, while listening to guided meditations and sometimes a combination of all of the above. It’s so freeing to be away from the structures of classes and just to allow the intuitive flow guide my practice. In-fact my best days have been when I get completely out of my head and just go where the intuitive nudge guides me, to feel the kundalini rising and just allow my body to fall into ecstatic bliss.
I could sit here and feel like I have failed in my 365 day commitment to a daily yoga practice but instead I am dancing and typing in joy as I realise that no-body is assessing me or checking up on me to make sure I’m sticking to my original plan. Who cares if I miss 20 days? It doesn’t make me less worthy or less committed to the yogic path, or even my spiritual path. So what if I don’t do it in a particular style or framework? I am finding enormous satisfaction with the flow. Having said that, I do need to start re-attending classes with a teacher to ensure that I’m keeping my technique correct and not falling into bad habits. Plus, I probably need to engage with other beings who are also connecting with themselves.
Like anything in life, the things/people/ideas we make a commitment to, some days, you just don’t feel like committing and that’s okay! All you need to do is ask yourself if it is a commitment that you are willing to continue with and find a way to adjust to your needs. Dieting and exercise programmes come to mind here!!
Yoga means union, or to join. In yoga I find union within myself. If I have learned anything about my home practice during the past 185 days, that yoga is not about the clothes, the style, accessories or even the mat. It’s about what works for me to maintain my physical body, my energetic body and my inner sense of balance. It also helps that lots of amazing people also do yoga. If dancing to music while doing the sun salutations works for me, well, I’m going to do it. I’m sure somebody has already marketed Dancing Yoga and if they haven’t, everyone should try it. Maybe, once I get my formal training in yoga, I’ll create it myself! But again that’s another tool. Let loose, shift up your yoga practice today, you know what’s best for you.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2016
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