I was practising yoga in the Yoga Shed early on Monday with my friend and student, Julie. It was a pleasure to share the experience of doing yoga practice with Julie which I often get to do with others from our household. We’re fortunate to have our own yoga studio a few steps from the house, so I can just roll out of bed and onto the mat, even while I’m still in my pyjamas.
Some mornings, I practice on my own, single-mindedly, silently, and happily. When I have company, we might enjoy a chat about things non-yogic. We might end up rehashing a movie we’ve seen or discuss a book. Comaradarie supplants concentration, and that’s all right sometimes.
On other occasions, we might want to check each other’s poses out. Or, opine on questions like why is it, even though you tighten your quadriceps (thigh muscles) as much as humanly possible, they still hang down in your face when you’re in halasana (plough pose).
(Of course we it’s because of the force of gravity, a cruel thing to have to endure in halasana, which is already a physically challenging pose. However, gravity is a good thing when you’re upside-down in sirsasana (headstand) because the droopy parts, like bellies and busts, assume a more pleasing perkiness.)
I don’t really have a preference about single or group practice. When I’m on my own, I adore it. There’s a cadence that develops during my practise that echos my body’s own pulses. In the beautiful natural setting in which I live, by the end of my sitting practice, my own rhythms synch with the symphony outside that is made up of the sounds of butcher birds, kookaburras, kurrawongs, cockatoos, wetland frogs, cows, and ocean tides.
There’s value in practice with fellow yogis. It deepens the communal bond that yoga creates. It’s a time when the values that come especially from yoga are re-enforced because they are reflected and amplified by the other.