Turning Yoga From Obligation To Necessity

Jessica Dewar Yoga_Svasana

If there was one word to describe my practice this morning… lazy. My alarm went off at the usual 3.30am and I grudgingly got up and into my clothes pre-laid out at the end of my bed. I was so annoyed with my practice this morning. My back has been playing up due to the cold, I got to bed late due to no ones fault but my own and I knew I had a busy morning ahead – 6 back to back classes and all before 1.00pm. But, being as strict as I am with my practice, I know it’s important to at least get on my mat. From there, movement will inevitably follow.

I lit my single candle that sits at the feet of Ganesha (the Elephant God) and burned sandlewood incense, which I bring home from Mysore, India each year. My morning ritual had begun. But my usual motivation to move was lacking. As I sat on my mat, I felt a little sorry for myself. I wanted to crawl back into bed and snuggle up to my pillow for a few more hours. I closed my eyes and convinced myself I was meditating but in actual fact I was just falling asleep sitting upright. After a good ten minutes suspended in a state of deep meditation, or deep sleep, I chanted my morning prayer and then stumbled to my feet. Standing at the top of my mat, preparing to take my first inhalation and stretch my arms to the sky in honour of the sun, I felt a sense of dread wash over me. My body was aching for no good reason, my eyes were itchy from being overtired and my mind was far from steady. But whilst everything in my being was drawing me back to my bed, as soon as I began to move, a sense of peace washed over me. A feeling of total safety in the vulnerability of my practice.

The reality is, despite the discomfort of an early practice, every time I step onto my mat I feel like I’ve returned home. The spiritual experience is like no other and every day it looks a little different.

Yoga use to be a practice that I felt obligated to do, and truth be told, I still have those moments of feeling this way – this morning was one of them. But following many existential crisis throughout my life, I’ve become acutely aware of my limited time here which fuels my desire to live a full and meaningful life. So what do I consider to be a full and meaningful life? Simple. It is a life chosen by me, not for me.

So as I step onto my cold mat, still wrapped in my bathrobe as I prepare to raise my arms in salutation to the sun, I take a moment to feel gratitude for choosing to live a meaningful life. For choosing to deepen my connection with myself on every level – spiritual, physical, emotional. I’ve always considered my practice to reflect the sort of person I endeavour to be. Disciplined, sensitive, powerful, and human.

And so whilst my practice may demand of my physical body and of my mind, which can result in a lazy morning practice once in a while, I know to stick with it as it equally nurtures both.