Often, people talk about finding the right conditions for doing yoga.
I don’t mean the ones we make up in our head – you know, the “I need a certain mat or a certain teacher or a favorite pair of pants to get my toosh on the mat.” I mean the ones that are discussed in Yoga Mala and other yogic texts. We’ve all heard them bandied around.
Practice first thing in the morning. Well, this isn’t always practical, so yes, in a perfect world we would all practice when we woke up, either at home or at our favorite studio with our favorite teacher. But, until that day, we just make the best of it.
Don’t eat before you practice. Now, I’m on the fence about this one. There are times when I have practiced on a full stomach and felt appalling. During these times, I would be inclined to agree with the “‘no food” policy. There are also times when I have either woken up so hungry that to go for 90 minutes without food seems like some kind of torture, or I have had a morning full of running and cycling and not having food means I feel weak and shaky. So this one, I can take it or leave it.
The other one is sex.
Exerting control over our sexual desires and outputs is necessary for a strong and clear minded yoga practice. Bramacharya has been interpreted as total abstinence, or as sexual activities for the “homemaker” (It is necessary for reproduction after all!). Now, in our society, total abstinence or waiting until marriage might be considered a little…archaic.
I had a somewhat tragic realization the other day though. This might actually be true. Having voluntarily donned my blinkers to this particular advice, I tend to enjoy sex in what Indian yoga masters might call excess.
Let me fill you in. My boyfriend left super early for work, whilst I was walking the dog. Alas, I return and he is gone, so no morning sex. Instead, I got onto my mat and practiced. And it was beautiful. Crystal clear, smooth and deep. My body, mind and soul were a river flowing as one. I (reluctantly and secretly) tried alternating the next few mornings with and without sex before yoga.
With sex, I felt a little distracted, tired, and out of sync. Without, it was as I said: simple, pure and easy.
I know I have to choose the yoga. It physically pains me to do this. But, my practice means more to me than morning sex. I mean, I’m not giving it up every morning; let’s not do anything rash here, but five out of seven mornings…it’s gotta be the yoga.
Rose Wyatt is an avid runner, mountain biker, skier, swimmer…basically anything sporting, so yoga was not something that she was initially drawn to. However, Ashtanga resonated with her, and since she started a little over a year ago, she has made it her mission to learn how to integrate yoga into all her other sporting endeavours. She is a 500 hour RYT and teaching is something that she is passionate about, hoping that her dynamic classes will resonate with athletes and help bring more of them into the world of yoga. Along with yoga and sports, travel, writing, cooking, reading and music are all things that she loves to do. Being 24, and having only discovered yoga about 18 months ago, she knows that she still has a lot to learn, but fortunately that just makes her happy!
Editor: Cassandra Smith