February 25, 2014

Why I Choose a Home Practice. ~ Angela Sumner


For most of us, the path to yoga is a wild ride!

My 10 years of finding the right yoga teachers, diet[s], yoga pants, teacher training program, sticky mat and hairstyles (for headstand and shoulderstand—impossible!) has led to this startling realization: Yoga gave me the opportunity to find the real me.

A while back, though, somewhere along the sweaty path, I lost myself. With all the cool accessories, Instagram photo contests and studios popping up on every street corner, I became so immersed in The World of Yoga that I forgot the whole reason I started practicing.

I took a step back and realized the yoga, the union, easily got lost in the ego of the public eye.

It became more about ME and less about The Practice.

So I quit.

I packed up my perfectly downward-dog-worn-in Jade mat, took down my messy topknot, stopped my monthly autodraft, and decided to quit.

I didn’t practice for a month.

I sat. I focused on my breath. I read books on how to heal a broken heart and body—and then I threw those books against the wall.

I went for walks, I put my toes in the sand, I sat with myself.

And magically, as if I was there all along: I rediscovered me.

When I found the true, authentic Me, these are the truths I found:

1. Yoga looks imperfect. It’s a beautiful mess.

Sometimes I fall over in standing balances. Sometimes I fall over in handstand. (Let’s get real, most of the time I fall over in handstand!) Yoga is all perfectly imperfect.

2. Yoga is about my effort; it’s about showing up for myself every single day.

It’s about starting over every practice and doing the best I can do with the body, heart and mind I’ve been given. It isn’t about whether my thighs touch or don’t touch, whether or not I can reach my toes, sit in lotus or even know what alternate nostril breathing is.

3. I always know what’s right for my body. It doesn’t matter what a teacher or fellow yogi says. I am in my skin.

Too many times, my body was pushed to extremes in a hands-on class. I immediately judged myself for not being good enough. My home practice allows me to do exactly what feels right. And I’m not afraid to ask a friend to come help me with a pose if I want an assist.

4. I am 100% responsible for my own practice, which means I am learning discipline in ways I never thought possible.

Through my home practice, I am able to do things I didn’t have the heart to try in class. The “hard” poses are possible! I am disciplining myself and discovering my body in all it’s gorgeous glory!

5. I am enough. I am free. I am exactly where I need to be.

In my home practice, I can go where I want. I take my practice to the limit some days and other days I do 108 sun salutations. Sometimes, I sit in meditation and that is my complete practice. Each day presents me with a new opportunity to love myself and that is what yoga is all about.

The opportunity to be in yoga, in union with myself occurs daily—and my practice has shifted and transformed throughout the journey. Yoga is about loving myself. It is ultimately about finding myself.

At times I have craved the sangha of a studio practice and the motivation of others. Right now, though, I desire time to discover my body, motivate from within and practice alone. I have found the ultimate truth: the journey of yoga is mine and mine alone. Only I am responsible for making sure it’s a journey I will carry with me from this life into the next.

Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editorial Assistant: Holly Horne/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: lululemon, YouTube

Read 15 Comments and Reply

Read 15 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Angela Sumner