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.

Stillness amongst the crazy - taking time out to remain sane

With a hot cup of tea, snug socks and my mat - I couldn’t be more comfortable right now. Outside its raining and I’m sitting here, after this mornings Hatha practice, taking time out to collect my thoughts. Not a bad start to the day if you ask me.

Over the past few days there have been a number of people I’ve come across who manage to ooze stress and anxiety, and to be honest its challenging not to be affected by this. Being back in the real world means facing real life issues, one of which includes meeting and being around people who are stressed, possibly angry etc. This could be at the supermarkets, via phone calls whilst trying to find a space, in traffic. There isn’t the same ‘laid back’ attitude which exists in India. People are consumed by many social pressures, financial pressures etc which in essence breeds illness. My challenge - remain centered amongst this and do not allow myself to also become victim to such pressures. This isn’t to say I won’t feel stressed at times - I’m only human and that’s life I suppose, but something I need to work hard on is maintaining that ‘witness’. To be aware of how I’m feeling, constantly checking in to make sure I’m choosing my emotions rather than allowing them to choose me.

Yesterday I wanted to (in fact I did) cry. I had a momentary lapse in control where I felt completely overwhelmed by life here in Australia, specifically the ridiculous pace that people (which was once me) work/move/talk. Coming from the presence of the most centered person I’ve ever met, Bharath, it’s upsetting to see how vastly different my life/surroundings has since become. Restaurants playing loud trance music, people inhaling their food at lunch time.. it may sound silly but this sort of life has become foreign to me. Don’t get me wrong - India is the loudest place on the planet - but it’s a different sort of loud. Maybe it’s the pace of India which I miss? Or maybe it’s because I can’t understand anyone 99% of the time which means my world is ironically silent there? I’m not sure. I will meditate on that. All I know, is coming home has been/is the ultimate challenge for me. Who would have thought!!

Today is committed to more hall searching, insurance organising and finalising my website. It may all sound boring to some but for me, this is such an exciting day. Things are finally happening. Granted its slow as Im struggling to find a space, but i know it will all fall into place.

Until next time, be sure to take time out for yourself - away from the craziness of life. Sit quietly in a room, breathe and collect your thoughts. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Namaste xx