In these days and weeks as we are all experiencing the change that is effecting some part of our lives and everything around us has closed shop, many have turned to online class participation. Historically Yoga practice has been taught in groups with the individual in mind. While teachers call out general directions of movements and adjustments in large classes, within that generality we are always refining our individual needs and uncovering our uniqueness.
In 1985 I moved to Dublin Ireland. At that time I had already been practicing yoga for 15 years and was teaching full time.
I took courses and classes with great teachers on a regular basis. My practice pretty much was within taking classes. When I found myself in a city that at the time didn’t offer the level of classes that I experienced in Los Angeles I found myself alone with my own practice.
I knew that the only way I would start was to create a schedule for myself and to block off a time to set up practice. As challenging as it was for me to get on the mat, and is for many other teachers. .Once I committed to that time and I would start with any pose, my body began to talk to me in the voices of all my teachers past. I learned more from this experience of being on my own where the culmination of all my education started to come alive in my practice. I discovered the teacher within me for the first time.
I continue to encourage my students to practice at home. While taking a class there is always part focused on other students in the room, part on the teacher, and finally some awareness on your own yoga.
The unusual circumstance of our time right now is demanding that we slow down and turn inward. For many it is a time of universal as well as individual reflection. What a better time to turn off everything and explore your own practice. Many students I have known during the decades that I have been teaching have been taking group classes regularly for many years.
There is an evolution to practicing Yoga. There comes a time when us as students of yoga is must find the teacher within. I suggest to set a time where you can commit to that practice. Start with just 15 minutes. Or 5 minutes. It really depends on what will invite you in without strain. Check in with yourself first and listen to what you need from your yoga in that moment. Do you need to do child’s pose for 3 minutes to slow the chatter? OR a balance pose to regain your center of mental and physical balance? Standing Poses for stabilizing and strengthening your spirit. One of the most valuable keys to finding peace at this time are restoratives poses Where you can quiet your mind, still your body and find that soft quiet breath of life. Be creative with what is available to around your house, cushions, pillows couches, if you don’t have traditional yoga props. This is the beauty of Yoga. All you need is yourself, a small space and a creative mind.
Whatever you decide to do just remember to make it fun! Put on some uplifting music that moves you, or some positive talk that inspires you. This is a time for self-reflection. Yoga is the practice of self-reflection, awareness and to turn the chatter of the outside information cycle off.
The magic of yoga is that it can keep your mind in the moment. The true meaning of yoga is to harmonize and align yourself to a higher force. That sure does feel like a happier place to be to me!