I enjoyed such a slow practice this morning - at home, by myself. Just a candle, some incense burning and my mat. Perfect.
I caught myself during the practice wondering what it was that I was enjoying so much about it. To be truthful, my regular practice is about 90 minutes in Ashtanga yoga. But this morning I felt the need to pull right back and take my time through just 6 rounds of Sun Salutations.
I took the practice so slowly. Every movement and every breath was very intentional. I felt the urge to connect on a deeper level than ever before. I’m not sure what led me to a practice like this today, but it was exactly what I needed. It’s been a busy time as of late, and my practice has been very disrupted, so perhaps this was my body nudging me to return to myself. To care for myself a little more.
With every step, every breath, I felt nourished. I felt connected and truly present. Of course there were many times when my mind wandered off into the distance - wedding planning is front of mind at the moment - but with the steadiness of each pose I was able to quickly bring myself back. To return to my body and pay attention to what I felt physically, emotionally and energetically. In a word, the practice was - peaceful.
There is something to be said for slowing right down. Personally, I find this difficult. As a go go go person, I like to get in and get out. That’s the classic story of my life. And I know many would relate. This is perhaps one of the reasons I’m drawn to Ashtanga yoga. It’s quick, dynamic and powerful - all of which are reasons that force me to focus, which I generally find difficult to do.
But today was different. I’m not sure why, and I guess I really don’t need to. Rather, I just felt into my body and decided to take it slow and enjoy the gentle, but no less powerful, transitions and holds in the Sun Salutation. I also didn’t pressure myself to go too much further into my practice for today. A couple of forward folds, triangle pose, a detoxifying twist and then of course, savasana. It was perfect. A few moments of bliss and self love that was just for me.
This is what yoga is all about. It’s not about feeling pressured to do 60 or 90 minute classes. It’s not about tricky poses or looking awesome in a sports bra. If we make yoga about the asanas, or the ‘achievements’ then we’ve missed the point. Yoga is purely about union. And sometimes you will feel that union, as I did today, and other days you won't - as I often experience also.
The key is not to get frustrated with yourself if you didn’t get on your mat for long. Remember - it is far more meaningful and beneficial to practice one pose with presence then to practice 100 unfocused poses.
Take time to enjoy the moment, one pose, one breath at a time. x