Do you know that classic gem of a joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice!
Seems to me that the same thing can help us yogis flourish! I stared on my yoga journey during my years training as a classical clarinetist. I still teach clarinet lessons to folks of all ages and ability levels, and let me tell you; when I start off with a new student, there is a built in ‘expectation’ that the student will practice in between lessons. I mean, how else will they improve? What can I teach them if the week in between lessons they take no accountability for their own growth, development, and discipline? Same thing with homework back in your school days; I’m sure most of us drilled math problems, wrote and parsed sentences, practiced spelling, and then showed the teacher our work at the next class.
So why is it so different for us yoga students? Oh yes, I know the excuses, and I can help you knock down those false walls and set up a home practice.
The art and science of yoga are merely shown to you during the guidance of a class setting with your teacher. The true practice occurs when you are alone: do you choose peace? do you choose a deep breath? do you choose nourishing foods? By practicing alone you consciously create your own little ‘yoga bubble’...in this bubble, with only your own breath to keep you company, you discover and notice how your mind wanders, which poses you avoid, which poses you love, which poses make you feel fear, and which poses calm you. You are your own teacher, and what better way to discover this than by yourself, without anyone yappin’ at ya, telling you what to do or how to do it! Set yourself free on the mat and feel how empowering it is to follow your bodies wisdom! By doing so, you elevate yourself to new levels of awareness that really give you something to work with at the next class, just like homework from school days.
Think of it like steps: during your class, you start out chillin’ on the first floor. Then your teacher shows you the entrance and staircase to the second floor. During the week, you climb to the next level during your home practice. When your teacher sees you at the next class, she then shows you a secret staircase to the third floor, and again, during the next week you climb this staircase, one pose at a time. Results? Peace, joy, awareness, and a strong body and mind.
Enjoy your yoga bubble and elevate yourself; as one of my favorite friends says, “It’s good to walk the path alone, it makes us strong!”