I’ve got to confess; I’m a home-practice yogini. My I-pad has a parking spot close to the toaster (yes I’ve pulled-off a downward dog in my kitchen before!). I’ve moved coffee tables around a few times to create more stretching space. Perhaps my pet Yorkie can tell you where the most comfortable spots on my yoga mat lie, but I’m sure you get the point. My home is my yoga studio, and for good reason.
My personal journey with Yoga started a few years ago. Probably the instant I realized that a few minutes of Yoga a day were more beneficial to me than driving, parking and paying to practice for an hour at a fitness studio. I won’t lie, not only is my time valuable, but convenience and a flexible schedule are right up my alley! So technically, being at home allows me to watch my baking and get in some yoga, simultaneously. It also means that a Chamomile tea is easily accessible, albeit 2 minutes post my workout.
Besides the time factor, I see the practice of Yoga as an individualized, almost spiritual encounter. And if something is spiritual to me, it makes sense that it should be unique and personal. By this, I mean it should be sensitive to individual pace and discretion – i.e. I’ll move on to the next stage, when I am ready.
With these reasons validating my intentions, I challenged myself to practice yoga for at-least 20 minutes a day, in the comfort of my own home. Seeing that yoga is designed to be a physical, metal and spiritual practice, it’s all about going inwards. About shutting out the outside world and coming into our own presence, our own breath, and our own true essence. So in a bid to explore and cultivate all three, I started my journey.
At first, I didn’t really think much about the type of Yoga I would focus on, or whether I was executing the poses (asanas) correctly. Nor did I think too much about the awkwardness I felt sometimes whilst I stretched, twisted, lunged and balanced on my arms. Pink mat in hand, yoga101 memorized, I dedicated the time and effort required to keep me challenged. Eventually, I started to realize every week that my mood was lifted, my body felt great, and the little introspection I was doing was giving me more clarity in my day-to-day activities. And just like that, 20 minutes per day became a journey of personal fitness, confidence and self-realization.
Yoga is indeed about connecting us to ourselves, each other, our environment, and our purpose. It can help shed negative energy we may have accumulated over a period of time, and give us the inspiration to lead a more fulfilled life; one away from the perils of social, cultural and digital existence. A daily yoga practice gives us insight into our ever-changing bodies. It gives us wisdom to deal with the dramas associated with daily existence.
As a beginner, claiming a spot in your lounge to strike a pose whilst chanting, sweating and breathing – might sound a little intimidating at first. We might worry about stepping onto our mats with low self-confidence and little strength or flexibility. We might worry about the possibility of confronting our own egos during a meditative moment. But if we give it time and a little patience, we may just learn to embrace the yoga mat. Through the process of yoga practice, we may discover that long-held grudges or anger can actually melt away, and that there is such a thing as letting go of what no longer serves us. We might learn to emulate what we think when we’re on the mat, in actual life.
If you’ve ever considered getting yourself a yoga mat, you probably should. Don’t worry too much about things like what to wear (as long as it’s not too loose fitted) and how well you’re posing. Yoga is linking breath with movement. So for starters, even simple relaxing stretches are yoga. Just remember to be kind to yourself, and to give it time to get into a rhythm. Get silly if you have to, move in ways that make you feel good. Stick it out. For me, I think about it as literally 20 minutes a day I choose to spend in reflection. It’s been a couple of years, and I haven’t looked back. Well, there is that odd time I’ve heard the teapot whistle whilst in the middle of a half-moon pose ☺
Till next time then.