April 2, 2017

Why I’m a Yoga Teacher who Doesn’t Practice Asana Daily.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I, a yoga teacher, do not practice yoga asana daily.

I don’t Downdog or vinyasa daily, or even weekly sometimes. I don’t stretch and flow on my mat all that regularly anymore.

But I do still practice yoga.

I practice mindfulness and connection (to my body, my relationships, and the world). I practice loving-kindness and I practice rebellious self-love—but not in the form of asana.

I practice mindfulness when I notice the new flowers blooming in my neighbour’s yard.

I practice connection when I honor my body and eat nourishing food, and when I put my phone down to have a meaningful conversation with a friend or loved one.

I practice loving-kindness when I smile at my own reflection and when I genuinely care what the cashier’s response is when I ask, “How are you today?”

I practice rebellious self-love when I meditate, read, and journal because they make me feel good.

All of these things are a version, the current version, of my yoga (which actually means to yolk or connect). These things don’t build a leaner body or stretch my hamstrings, but they build a lighter soul and a fuller heart.

They are my way of living my yoga practice off my mat, every single day.

Of course physical asana practices are amazing and can cultivate all kinds of positive effects (lower stress levels, a healthier body, and a deeper connection to self and the divine to name a few), but so can my simple daily practices that don’t require me to carve out time in my day to hit my mat.

I’ve learned that like life, asana practices ebb and flow—right now I’m flowing wonderfully without asana. I’m sure that one day soon, my body will crave asana again, and when it does I will honor that desire as much as I’m honoring this one.

Author: Lisa Simchison

Image: Helen Alfvegren/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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