Practice

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.