We all have an image of what our perfect practice would be.
Whether that means waking up on our own without an alarm clock, a barking dog, or kids and enjoying a cup of tea while watching the birds out the kitchen window before spending an hour of uninterrupted time on your yoga mat. Or perhaps, spending some time meditating and charging your collection of crystals and other gem stones in the moonlight in an otherwise quiet house.
Those are beautiful ideas and absolutely wonderful practices, but plans don’t always work out.
There is no perfection. No complete silence. The dog could run through your circle of crystals, breaking through your focus and scattering the gems across the room. The kids might burst in during your yoga practice in tears or wanting cookies. The phone might ring in the middle of your meditation. Your mom or grandma could come over in the middle of your journal writing and disrupt your thoughts.
Sh*t happens. Life is messy, loud and beautiful in its imperfections.
But, when our practice doesn’t go the way we envisioned, it’s easy to get frustrated and consider that particular practice a failure because not everything went smoothly or according to plan.
There is no perfection, only practice.
And there is often chaos in the practice or, at least, happening around you as you practice.
There is also a lot of chaos within. Sometimes the kids do sleep in. Sometimes the dog is quiet. Sometimes all of the conditions are laid out perfectly around you and you get your chance to have that dream practice.
The expectations are high during those conditions, when you think there is no excuse not to have a perfect practice.
Some days I’m falling all over my mat, unable to find my center. Some days I just can’t get into that tree pose or I’m falling out of Warrior III. There’s no outside force pushing me over, but there’s something within me that cannot settle. I can’t tame the monkey mind or perhaps there’s something in my life I’ve been ignoring and it’s affecting me in more ways than I’ve let myself think about. Maybe I’m upset, tired or hurt and I haven’t let myself dwell in the shadow in order to forgive and replace that darkness with the light.
This then comes out in my practice.
So, how do we get grounded? How do we reclaim our balance and find our center in the midst of chaos?
Here is a routine to help you:
As always, I encourage you to add your own favorite poses to this routine.
Don’t just stick to what I’m telling you to do. Do what feels good to you. Maybe you just want to hang out in a tree. Maybe you want to do the lunge twists a few more times, practicing lifting yourself all the way up with your inhales and gently opening your arms and twisting to one side with your exhales, practicing moving with your breath.
Along with lunge twists, here are some great poses to help with balance:
Half moon and it’s reverse are amazingly fun to practice, if not completely frustrating at times! I both love and hate reverse half moon. Sometimes it’s better to really bend both knees so you can spin open your belly, keeping your limbs closer to your center and therefore claiming a better stance. Then, as you get comfortable you can extend the back leg, really reaching out through your heel and the crown of your head.
If you want to get really crazy with your half moons, you can start in reverse and then bend that back lifted leg so you can grab onto your toes. Then, lift up, taking hold of your toes with both hands, shift into half moon, stacking your hips. Maybe press that foot into your hand and open up your back a little more.
Then, of course, there is tree pose and dancer. Eagle pose is a little tricky, but in a fun way! If you want to try eagle pose, sometimes it’s easier to sink really really low. It may burn the thighs at first, but it’s more stabilizing.
Whatever you do, have fun and smile through it all. Everyone falls and gets frustrated sometimes, but the only failure is if you don’t try.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Catherine Monkman