Recently my busy schedule kept me away from the Baptiste-style yoga studio where I practice.
Sure, I practice at home, but it’s never quite the same.
First, there are no people (besides, of course, those occasions when I bring my daughter with me into my cozy, little yoga room).
For another, it’s not as hot (even though I have a cute and well-functioning heater).
Yet, more than this, my home practice also suffers when I’m overly frazzled and hurried.
I don’t have my normal drive that pushes me through a more demanding routine because internally I know that it’s probably what I could actually use to help pick me back up, and I don’t even always want to take the time to simply go into my beloved room—even though it’s only right down the hall—because I would rather cook with my husband and child in the kitchen.
So, finally, after a week and a half, I went to the studio—and it helped me realize these four things.
1. I need a community.
After being away for several days (which felt like forever), I was overjoyed to once again be surrounded by familiar faces.
My family lives a couple hours away and, quite honestly, I have only a few close friends here. Sometimes I feel, well, lonely.
Thankfully, I have my daughter. She keeps me busy, and she’s a constant reminder of who is important in my life, but, still, I think it’s healthy to have friendships outside of child-rearing and marriage—because that’s a lot of pressure to put on a few important people.
While I’m well aware that we might have different home and family situations, I truly believe that all of us need communities—people with similar interests and ideas who surround us and give us feedback, comfort and camaraderie.
This might not be a yoga studio for you, but, then again, it just might be.
2. Man, this feels goooooood.
Since my triumphant return to my regular practice, I’ve noticed sensations that I almost forgot about.
When I lifted my heart in Warrior I, my shoulder blades easily melted down my back—along with my burdens.
The engagement of my lower belly during my half-way lift felt profound.
In short, I was in touch with the sensations of my body—and it felt divine.
Both of the practices that I’ve had in these last two days have been stellar (and maybe that’s a pretty good reason to take a few days off every now and then).
In a way, it’s like coming home from a long vacation and feeling that this is why you’ve chosen to settle here after all.
3. Modifications are where it’s at.
When I got back into that hot room after my semi-forced leave of absence, I really gave myself a break.
If I wanted to stay in my deep wide-legged forward fold rather than going up into headstand, then who cares?
If I felt like staying in a squat instead of soaring in crow, then why not?
I gave myself a free pass to take it easy, and I enjoyed every second of my practice—because I was sincerely listening to my own body’s needs.
Sometimes we need to step away from our expected sensations so that we can, not shockingly, stop expecting them and just open ourselves up to whatever arises—and that’s practicing yoga.
4. I want to practice.
Taking too many days away from the studio made me realize that I should have made a better attempt to get there in the first place.
Yes, life gets busy, but we need our practices because they help us get through these stressful periods.
So, yoga mat, I’m sorry I put you on the back burner. I’ll try to be better about not doing that in the future.
I guess you could say that I had a yoga epiphany—that I’ve been on the right track all along.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise