Few would argue that home yoga practice is less legitimate than studio practice. In fact, part of a well-disciplined yoga practice includes personal home
“Yoga Girl” rap by David Wittman
But what if personal home practice was your entire practice?
Does yoga need to be shared and witnessed to be legitimized?
I’m asking these weighty questions because I’m going into my second week of home practice. My first experience with yoga at the tender age of five years was a home practice and it created the foundation for my adult practice. Sometimes it’s simply more practical to practice at home, and sometimes — at least for me — it’s a preference.
I may head to the studio next week, but if it’s anything like this past week, I’ll be building my yoga — in da house.
It’s true — you can practice yoga everywhere. After enjoying an unofficial long weekend, I’m behind in house maintenancey-type things, like
grocery shopping, laundry, CLEANING… Sadly, there’s no time to hit the yoga studio today, but this image (from Tamara Dorris’ blog) has inspired me. Since I can’t get to my yoga, I’m going to take my practice with me today!
Did you get to the studio today?
I’m told by my yoga teacher that the Yamas in yoga are — loosely translated — disciplines of yoga living. One of the five Yamas is Satya — truthfulness and honesty in living. In Hinduism, truth is defined as “that which has no distortion”, and “that which is unchangeable”. As you can see from the image to the
Satya practice: being real
right, I haven’t been practicing good Satya — my hair has been anything but unchangeable and undistorted for the past 18 years.
I started hennaing my hair in the nineties, when red was super-rad. Henna for me was the gateway hair color, and it didn’t take long before I’d moved into semi-permanent, and then permanent colors. Coloring didn’t start as an effort to cover grey — though I had my first white hairs in my teens. But by the time I’d hit my mid-thirties, there was a significant amount of grey & white, and I didn’t want to see them.
Fast forward to the present. I’m learning more about my yoga practice, and trying to apply yoga to my life off the mat. As I brushed my hair this morning it occurred to me that I could grow my dyed color out. Simplify my life, and save some money while I’m at it.
This post feels like a vanity post, and maybe it is a little, but it’s also more than that. If I blog about my white and grey hair, and my plan to let it grow free, I’ll have to stick to the Satya. I’m a little nervous about this — I love my black hair — but that too is a good reason to let it go. It’s a distorted reality. And after today, things are about to get real!
My yoga teacher, Jordan, is flying to sunny California today to attend a conference with Deepak Chopra so I’m on my own until Tuesday. Yesterday’s practice was powerful and inspiring. Jordan spoke to us about sangha — literally, community & in its broadest interpretation, it applies to both lay and monastic people. More precisely, sangha is a community of people who are growing through each other by getting together to discover deeper meaning, peace, and love in their lives.
My (yoga) sangha for the next five days will comprise my dog — who’s lying on one of my yoga mats as I write — and the online yoga community. Not exactly traditional sangha. And speaking of nontraditional, in my search for more yoga practice videos, I found a super-cute video from MyYogaOnline starring a 2-year-old instructor. Enjoy & namaste:
After a powerfully evocative practice with my teacher and class today I was left with the feeling that maybe my three classes a week aren’t going to be enough. We focused on asana holds today, which in my case involved a lot of teetering and falling. I love my teacher’s approach to hold asanas — in addition to being very particular with us about technique and positioning, he also reminds us continually, “It’s only a fall if you don’t get up.”
On reading a little about asanas, I discovered that many of the hold asanas we practiced today promote relief from anxiety — no wonder the practice was so evocative. My favorite — and most challenging — was Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose).
Here’s an adorable illustration of the asana from Yoganina Blog:
Arda Chandrasana, from YOGANINA
This challenge is free through Yoga Journal and it seems simple enough. I signed up today, so over the next 21 days I’ll be receiving daily newsletters with a video link to guide me in my daily practice. I’d be lying if I said I’m going with brimming with confidence, but I figure, avoiding disappointment by playing safe isn’t a position of confidence either.
Woke from a pounding headache at 3AM today and I think yoga’s the culprit. We spent a lot of time on twisting poses during my last practice, and, according to Yoga Journal online, twists provide a lot of health benefits;
“Yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar describes twists as a “squeeze-and-soak” action: The organs are compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows in, carrying oxygen and the building blocks for tissue healing. So from the physiological standpoint, twists stimulate circulation and have a cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs and associated glands.”
So apparently the toxins were squeezed from my organs and glands, and they needed, er, release from my body. I spent the day wearing sunglasses and drinking lots of water (to encourage release..). The headache felt like one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had. I should have done more yoga today, but I didn’t. Instead I ruminated on the fact that I’m coming to yoga a little long in the tooth (I’m over 40!). I was feeling a little down about it, until I found a fantastic image from imgur.com:
imgur.com, Never too Old
How great is this?
As I grow
up older, I want to be the womanly version of this dude. Oh yeah — it’s on.