Sunday, October 11, 2009


Well, that was a bit of a joke.

I unrolled the mat, thinking that I would practise the full Primary Series since, after all, I have nothing else to do today. I got through sun salutations and standing. I was well on my way through the Janu Sirsasanas but I was very distracted. I actually pulled a book out of the bookcase and I was glancing through it when the phone rang (so, obviously, I wasn't very invested).

It felt like a sign. I spent the next 45 minutes chatting with the girlfriend (who's still bed-bound and very bored). I never got back to yoga...

It was just one of 'those days', the days that I don't feel like practising, but I do it anyway. Today, 'practising' meant getting through the sun salutations and standing postures (about a half-hour of practice).

I recently posted a new status report to the WoYoPracMo site. I've been periodically updating the peeps there on my yoga streak. Here's the report, for those of you not on Ning:

June - September: The Summer of Yog

It's been a few months since I posted an update on my year of daily yoga practice.

The news is good! I'm still at it, every day without fail.

By now, my daily asana practice has become so ingrained that skipping it rarely occurs to me. Even the very short, obligatory 15 practices have all but gone. These days, I'm on the mat for at least 30 minutes every day.

The summer was amazing for my practice because my teaching schedule faded to part-time. I had more time and energy to devote to my asana practice. I started doing the full Primary Series more often, sometimes as much as six days per week (practising another style of yoga on my 'rest' day). A few times, I even went on an 'Astanga Streak', practising up to 12 days in a row before taking a break to do Yin or Hatha.

I discovered two things that really motivated me in my practice over the summer.

The first was practising outdoors. I've never really practised outside before. Quite by accident, I discovered that I loved the fresh air and sunshine! Being outside added a whole new dimension to my practice. Gazing up to the sky in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana was fabulous! I started taking long walks again, stopping to do yoga in a sunny park along the way. I did yoga on the balcony, at the campground, on the rocks at the cottage, at the beach. I lost my shyness about it and had interesting conversations with people who saw me in poses.

The second innovation was audio yoga classes. I won a one-year subscription to an online audio yoga web site. The site offers a variety of yoga classes, mostly vinyasa style. In the past, I've enjoyed using yoga DVDs for my practice and I am a big fan of Sharath's led primary CD. These recordings allowed me to expand my practice into different styles and poses (outside of Astanga) and also take my yoga 'on the road'. I loaded the classes on my iPod Shuffle so I could easily practise to them in the park, while travelling, etc.

My asana practice became much stronger over the summer. Last year, I was weakened by an illness and lost my practice. In the past four months, I feel like I've regained the ground I lost.

I'm amazed by how solidly I've established a daily yoga practice as a 'habit'. This has made me rethink other areas of my life that have been neglected. What other daily habits could I work on that would help me grow?

The obvious answer is: meditation. I've had a sporadic meditation practice for the past six years. Last month, I decided to meditate daily, setting 5 minutes as the minimum duration for my sessions. So far, I'm doing well with this goal and I've gradually increased the duration of my meditation to 20 minutes (with the goal of eventually meditating for 30 minutes a session).

I've also added other 'habits' to my roster that are unrelated to yoga. I've started flossing daily, brushing the dog daily (she develops dreadlocks if I don't). I go for a long walk every day and sweep my floor every morning. I'm finding that these routines keep me centered.

I'm sure I never expected so much to come out of simply practising yoga daily. This has certainly been an interesting journey! I'm now moving into the last three months of my Year of Practice.


Flo said...

Loved reading your update for Ning.
I also have had a few of "those days" where I get through standing and find my mind has already left the building.

Kaivalya said...

"my mind has already left the building" <--I love this, it's so true. That's *exactly* what happened yesterday. I wasn't 'present' in the most obvious and dramatic of ways.