philosophy

What are we practicing for?

By Anna

Photo by Alizé Jireh Yaccino

Photo by Alizé Jireh Yaccino

If you listen to the podcast then you know that I am currently obsessed with the book The Yamas and Niyamas by Deborah Adele. I was reading the section on Tapas (self-discipline) this afternoon when the author asked the reader "What are we practicing for? When is the last time you even asked yourself this question?" pg. 138. It was one of those questions that stops you in your tracks and feels like a slap in the face. 

If you asked me this question 10 years ago I would have told you that yoga was a form of exercise I used to stay in shape. But now, where do I even begin? My practice has evolved and shifted many times over the last decade. My asana practice has almost always been fiery. I love vinyasa flow and working up a good sweat. That being said, I have also learned in the last year or so to listen to my body. What I need is not always what I want. I have really tried in this past year to go with the flow. Replace my usual vigorous pace with a yin class when I wake up sore and tired. Lie in legs up the wall for 15 minutes and reset after a full morning of teaching instead of trying to fit in a long sweaty flow when my body has already done enough that day. This is something I have struggled with for a very long time. But it's getting easier. 

I think all these years of practice have lead me to this place of being able to listen and understand the language of my physical and subtle bodies working together. This is a big part of the "why" do I practice. The 2 hours in the morning that I set aside for yoga is necessary for me. I begin with meditation and then move onto my physical practice. I find that beginning my day with yoga helps me to clear the dust of day before. I can shed the layers little by little until my brain is only concentrating on my breath and my movement. Yoga is the only practice that does this for me; removes the fog and brings me into the present moment. 

This is why I practice. To hit the reset button every single day. To be open to whatever experiences come my way on the mat and off the mat. I love watching the layers fall away as I practice. Beginning in meditation, observing where my mind wants to go that morning and then moving into the physical practice and seeing my body begin to open and respond to each breath. I really don't see myself ever giving up yoga. I have no doubt that in another year or another 10 years my practice will look completely different. And that's okay. Always remaining open to possibility. This is why I practice.

 

I Jumped. And the Universe Let Me SPLAT.

By: Katie

I jumped. I took a leap of faith. I put aside my skepticism and trusted the Universe. It was a long trust fall. And I kept falling. And falling.

And falling.

Until I went SPLAT.

And now I’m back where I started with the knowledge that jumping from point A to point Z didn’t work for me.

In the yoga world, there’s a belief that the Universe will provide, and I’ve seen it get more than one happy little yogi in trouble. It’s not necessarily a wrong belief, I think the common interpretation may just be a little optimistic.

The Universe WILL provide. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to provide what you want it to provide.

Nearly a year ago, I quit my corporate job and trusted that I could rock a flexible part-time gig that I wasn’t terribly enthused about, enabling me to teach more yoga and enjoy a thriving freelance writing operation.

Spoiler: That is NOT what the Universe provided.

Instead, the Universe provided me with a mighty dose of humility, a glance into dire financial straits, painful health problems, serious heartbreak within my family, an uncomfortably deep understanding of dependence, and more than a few strained relationships.

The Universe did NOT provide what I wanted. The Universe provided what I needed.

I’m now back where I started, having seen that the grass isn’t always greener, and I’m more deeply appreciative of my old/new job.

Am I saying you should always play it safe and never take risks? No.

I’m saying that the Universe will NOT always catch you. It’s wonderful if it does, and it’s wonderful to trust in it, but you need to first decide if the fall is worth it. Before you jump, ask yourself that if you hit the bottom in a giant splat, are you ready to pick yourself up and try again or revise your strategy?

Make sure it’s worth it, and then either jump or find a gentler path down the side of the mountain. Sure it’s a slower slog with harder work, but it sure is scenic.

Photo by my boo Steve!

Photo by my boo Steve!