Lately, I’ve become more connected with my personal yoga practice than ever before. Rather than dutifully unrolling my mat, going through the same warm ups, sun salutations, and 4 or 5 standing postures for 40 minutes, I start in savasana and just listen.
While I feel good after my morning asana and meditation, there have been times (admittedly), that I had to muscle myself a bit to get my butt on the mat. Of course, once I begin, I know why I’m there. My body always feels more alive after the physical part of my practice. But, recently, my meditations were becoming more and more thought-filled. I’m talking, unstoppable-freight-train types of thoughts. This wasn’t the meditation I’d fallen in love with during teacher training. So, I stepped back, paused, took in a full breath and saw clearly what was happening. My routine was becoming…well, routine. I was going through the motions like I used to at church mass. I wasn’t really practicing yoga.
I realized that I wasn’t getting much more than physical wellness out of my practice, because I wasn’t giving much more than my physical presence. And, my meditations were so full of distraction, that by the time my “zen alarm” went off, my mind was even more chaotic, as if I’d been watching television. Something had to change.
One morning after my routine, I glanced down at Judith Lasseter’s “Living Your Yoga.” I remembered what she said about a similar experience. She was doing all of the right yoga things, but felt more chaotic than ever — she wasn’t present in her practice. I took in another breath, and just sat there. The next morning something was different. Not consciously, but something had shifted. That was the beginning of my yoga practice – for real.
Now, rather than see my morning practice as yet another item on my “to do” list, I unfurl my mat with presence. Even this act is a pose to be relished. Then, I lay in savasana and wait for instructions from within, and I move through my practice using only my third eye to see. Sometimes, my higher power just wants to lay in savasana and be; and feel. So,that’s what I do. Sometimes my practices is only five minutes in preparation for meditation, but it is a fully present five minutes. I’m getting more out of those five minutes than I was getting out of my rote 45 minute gymnastics routine.
With eyes closed throughout my entire asana practice, I find that I have a much deeper connection to myself & an unwavering focus. I’m not talking about furrowed brow hyper-concentration, but a deep awareness and attentiveness that arises from within. There’s no struggle between external and internal when you go in.
This morning, I was so tired from the pollen and the too-short weekend, I could barely drag myself out of bed. I kicked my feet out of the covers, staggered like a zombie to the shower, and slowly awoke. By the time I go to my mat, I was still foggy and unaware of where I needed to be. So, I closed my eyes, & practiced from the inside out.
– Your Charmed Yogi