Your Practice Is Always There For You

by Stacey

yoga-matI run into people all of the time who tell me “I keep meaning to take your class!” or “I’m coming to your class, right after I get through this (fill in the blank)” or “I’m so embarrassed/guilty/ashamed/whatever that I haven’t shown up in your class yet!” I just smile and tell them it’s alright. Really. You’ll get to yoga when you’re supposed to. They usually nod and look relieved and the conversation moves on to something else.

I wonder if they really hear what I’m saying. Yoga is an invitation, not an obligation.

Yoga has been around for thousands of years. It’s served people in thousands of ways, from the ascetic looking to renounce society in pursuit of enlightenment to the workaholic dad who needs to relax so he can reconnect with his family. Yoga has helped pregnant women have more positive delivery experiences and bond with their newborns. At-risk teens have learned coping skills to manage anger through yoga. Yoga’s benefits extend to those who suffer from depression and anxiety, offering relief from their symptoms.

Yoga is not just about getting your foot behind your head. And it’s not going away any time soon.

One of the principles of yoga is Ahimsa, which is the Sanskrit term for non-violence. In yogic philosophy, ahimsa reminds us to extend gentleness and kindness to everyone, including ourselves. Which means that coercing, shaming, and guilting ourselves into practicing yoga is, in fact, the antithesis of what yoga is about.

When we let our inner mean girl (or guy) dictate how and when we practice, we deny our true nature and instead force ourselves into a template created by our ego.

As someone who has been practicing yoga now for nearly a decade (OMG – has it been that long?), I have encountered resistance. A lot. Sometimes it’s because there’s going to sub in my favorite class. Sometimes it’s because my schedule changed and I need some time to adjust. Sometimes I have an idontwanttoandyoucantmakeme kind of attitude. Hey, it happens from time to time. And when it does, I give myself the time and space to work things out, even if it means not doing the very thing that I know is good for me, for a day or a week or even a month or two. And when I am ready, I find myself returning to my practice with a renewed sense of curiosity.

For me, coming back to my practice is an exercise in being present and accepting myself exactly as I am, and I wholeheartedly encourage others to do the same.

Showing up to class with your tail between your legs because you haven’t done yoga in weeks or months doesn’t serve you or anybody else. All you have to do is take a deep breath, roll out your mat, and start where you are.

Your practice is always there for you.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: