This one’s a lot of words kids, so grab a cup of tea and get comfortable. Also please note that the duck picture, though pretty, is unrelated to the content of this post. 😉
“Living your yoga” is something a lot of people talk about, but I’m only just starting to figure out what it means to me. It sometimes feels like yoga isn’t just connected to whatever else I have going on in my life – it defines it. As an active gal, I do a lot of other stuff as well as yoga (i.e. horseback riding, crossfit, etc.) It can be a lot to balance, but often when I let my practice slip I find that it feels like everything else crashes down like an avalanche. Similarly, it is just when I feel I make the most progress with my practice that I feel the rest of my life is coming together nicely as well.
I think some of this stems from the fact that when I am frustrated or upset, I might not “feel like it”. In other words, I sometimes feel that all I’m really capable of doing well is nothing at all. Of course, this is when it’s most important to practice! Yoga is an opportunity to escape from the things that trouble you and in doing so return to those obstacles better able to overcome them. A saying I’ve seen around a lot lately reads, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day. Unless you’re too busy – then you should sit for an hour.” It’s funny, but it’s also true. If yoga is seen as a moving meditation, then I know that it is exactly those days that I think I don’t have the time or energy to devote to an excellent practice that I will benefit most from showing up at my mat. Some days, you don’t wake up feeling like you’re going to win at everything, but that’s never reason enough not to participate.
So, because it is often hardest to fit in yoga when we need it most, it’s important to be able to further your practice even when you can’t make it to your favourite class. An easy fix might be to switch to an earlier or later class that better accommodates your schedule, but there are other solutions as well if that’s not possible! Sun salutations are an easy way to get your fix at home, as is just laying is Shavasana if you need a little zen. I even had an instructor suggest holding downward dog for seven minutes in a recent class! That ought to do it for your legs! A final thought is to consider whether it’s possible to incorporate yoga into the “other stuff” that you feel you’re working your practice around. See if your studio is hiring or looking for volunteers, surround yourself with friends who practice yoga, and let yoga be your escape, rather than something you do out of obligation.