Fitting in Personal Yoga Practice
I had a stimulating conversation with my friend and student, Alexa Nehter last week. We discussed an age-old problem: how do yoga students and teachers fit in a regular yoga practice?
We are all so busy! I’m semi-retired, and even though I don’t have a job to go to each morning, I’m too busy, too.
Sadly, busy is a cliche. So is the expression, ‘Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in the day.’ While it is undoubtedly true, we have careers, kids, relationships, mortgages, and HOUSEWORK. (You can tell where that one fits on my list of priorities.)
Two things work for me to stay on track for doing yoga practice. I make it a priority, and I do it regularly. I’m blowing my own horn I know. But I’m also standing on a platform of decades of practice that includes stumbling blocks such as boredom, illnesses, and injuries.
Back when I was a girl – 35 years old – I went to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in India with my teacher, Martyn Jackson. Now, that can be an inspiring place if you’re looking for committed practitioners.
I didn’t attend classes on this particular visit. Because I was relatively new to the rigours of Iyengar Yoga, Martyn thought it best for me not to do classes or attend the daily practice sessions at the Institute. I conceded, but Martyn would go off to practice each day with the master, his teacher of many years, B.K.S. Iyengar.
While they were doing their yoga, I enjoyed shopping on the streets of Pune or reading novels, but I also did my own practice.
I knew enough from having completed a six-month yoga teacher training to do be able to do personal practice in my little hotel room. I discovered that yoga can be done in a very cramped space!
Transplanted temporarily to unfamiliar surroundings, yoga helped me deal with the experience of being in India for the first time. Rather than being overwhelmed with the sights, smells and sounds of our raucous surroundings, I was able to create a sanctuary in my daily practice.
Where Does Personal Practice Get You?
From my advanced age now, I see what is possible by building up layers and layers of practice. When you do regular practice, you are building a temple to dwell in that’s more beautiful than the Taj Mahal or the Tiger’s Nest Monastery of Bhutan. You are building an inner sanctuary where you source your essential self.
A frequent and dedicated yoga practice will give you a firm platform to stand on and a gentle breeze behind you for moving through the world gracefully and peacefully.
For anyone who hasn’t started yoga, I encourage you to begin. If you have strayed somewhat from your practice, just begin again.
If you are like me and practice often, keep on keeping on! There are always new rewards along the way.
And, if you need a little inspiration, come along to the workshop I’m leading on Yoga – A Lifelong Companion at the Yoga Shed in Richmond, NSW.
eve, thank you for this post. My partner and I make our practice the priority and everything fits around that. I always have to laugh when John says I have to go do my practice now…like I’m not going to do mine…its been my priority to practice at home since day one…I cant even imagine a class being as powerful or complete…thanks for continually inspiring me 😉
The discussion I referred to in this post started when my friend was chatting with a group of teachers and the majority of them revealed that they had very little time to practice…. Or, they did their practice as they were in front of the room teaching a class.
It comes down to: what you get out of an activity is what you put in. Except with yoga, you get so much more! I think some people don’t realise this so don’t prioritise.
Blessings on your continuing yoga adventure!
Thank you Eve for you sharing of wisdom – I have been a practitioner for 20 years and I am friend and students of Rachel. Everything you said is a reminder and always great to hear. I love the description of – You are building an inner sanctuary where you source your essential self. – so beautiful described !.. Thank you for your inspiration X love Karen x
Hi there, Karen,
You have a great teacher in Rachel, and no doubt she’s inspired you to do personal practice.
Blessings on the Sanctuary you’ve built!