Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nurturing our Sacred Selves

As summer cools into the crispness of Autumn, in tandem with an increase in creativity and spirituality has arrived a need for personal practice. My Guerrilla Yoga practice has been excellent all summer with weekly outdoor yoga, but always with others, leading others in their practice. Also, I haven't felt comfortable spending 60$ a month for a weekly yoga class, so my guided practice has been relegated to Karma class each Thursday... which I just found out will be ending.

I keep reading and hearing from yogi/nis about deepening your personal practice. Exploring your body and soul in your own sacred space, with your own timing and Grace. These past few weeks, how I have been craving this quiet space to practice exactly how I would like. To hold downward dog for as many breaths as suits my body, to prepare my hips and sides before entering Triangle and to breathe.

Personal practice is a huge struggle for so many yogi/ni's, myself included. In a sense it was a weird life blurp that I had such traumatic yogic experiences and was forced to either give up yoga or practice at home for those two years we lived in Vernon. My personal practice became my only practice, so I HAD to make the time and space in our tiny, wolf-spider co-habitant, basement apartment. I learned so much about how MY body likes to practice. Without a voice to TELL me how to think and feel, I actually learned to focus on how I WAS feeling.

During our current financial craziness, personal practice also allows us to nurture our soul and yogi-spirit for free. Who can afford to attend even one weekly 16$ yoga class?? Seriously, I know yoga is a business for many, but this "consumer yoga" mentality has been a bit much lately. I'm trying to opt out of buy buy buy, and that includes buying a yoga class. Which fits nicely in nurturing my eco-yogic lifestyle. So many studios have yoga "stuff" for sale, clothing, mats, wipes, music, books, props and even jewelery. What ever happened to non-attachment? Nurturing a personal practice means connecting with my Sacred Self, not driving to class and spewing fumes and I'm less likely to buy.

I go through stages and seasons where personal practice is harder or easier depending on so many aspects of life. Right now is a perfect time for introspective practice as Andrew works until 7pm every night. That being said, I most certainly would love to increase my home practice times and am constantly thinking about it in vague terms. I'll practice more this week, this weekend etc etc. I figured there must be other yogi/nis out there that feel the same. Yogi/nis that struggle with similar (or not) obstacles in how to dedicate and create space for their own personal practice.

Finally, I spend my ENTIRE day brainstorming with parents on how to problem solve around creating a space and realistic goals around practicing. I have a zillion (ok, maybe that's a little exaggerated) strategies and ideas around how to create time, how to create space in order to practice. Perhaps that can help with a personal yoga practice? I know if we create a place for us to share ideas, frustrations and brainstorm we can each grow and feed our Sacred Self. Even if you have no idea where to start.

So, today I am dedicating each Monday, as Mondays are "Moondays" and I have an affinity for the moon, as Personal Practice post day. Since so many blogs (especially "eco" blogs) LOVE challenges, we could always refer to it as the personal practice challenge... but personally I DETEST challenges. I avoid all of them because of the pressure to follow through. Like a diet. SO- this is NOT a challenge. It is a "I am Nurturing my Sacred Space" ADVENTURE. I made this little bloggy-banner dealy that you can feel free to use if you so wish :) The only suggestions and desciption:

I will nurture my connection with my personal practice
I will allow myself much Grace
I will rejoice in my small steps on my Journey

My next step on my personal practice ADVENTURE: to have a solitary practice at home once a week.

Since this is the first little peep about this, I was thinking about "brainstorming" a bit tomorrow in a post. What do you think? What would help YOU take that next step in your Sacred Space Adventure? Finding time? Creating physical space? Figuring out just what the heck you're supposed to DO during this home practice stuff?

Blessings and I am PUMPED for the Adventure! :)


  1. I've adapted this new plan, which has sort of grown out of my current studies anyway. BUT - each Sunday, I work out a new yoga plan for the week.

    Its generally based on upcoming work for my Saturday study sessions, especially now we're in the throes of practicing leading people in asana.

    So, if I set a new sequence for myself each week, its fresh and new and I only have to practice that set for a week.

    Its a very new deal I've struck with myself but so far, so good :)

  2. Yoga classes are one of my major expenses at this point...which is partly because I don't feel secure enough in my understanding of yoga to practice very seriously on my own (a feeling that's been reinforced by hurting myself when trying to do so). Then, I also get so much out of the communal aspect of the class that it'd be hard to let go of. So, now I'm thinking that, when I get to a point where I feel I don't *need* to go to classes so much (something my bank account would certainly thank me for), I'd like to see if I can get some kind of yoga group together...

  3. LOVE it, love the banner, love the idea, love it all! :)

    I'm in! I've actually been looking forward to my personal practice all day. I am actually the opposite - I LOVE and prefer my personal practice to classes. It is a challenge for me to get to classes and get into asanas around other people. I get way too self-conscious. So personal practice has been my preference (though I need to work on balancing the two).

    When I need structure, I use yoga DVDs - it works almost as well as a class. My only problem has been working with the time I HAVE. I tend to want to do an hour for my practice, or maybe even 1 1/2 hours. But I rarely have more than 45 minutes. Then I try so hard to fit in a long practice. This past week, I've been working on mini-practices and it has helped a lot!

    I'll be sure to post this on my blog this week to spread the word!

  4. Eco, I glad you posted this, because I have not had success in establishing a home practice - but can't continue with the classes I started (which were very good for me) for time / distance / money considerations. I think you are right, and that making a commitment to a particular time could help. I'll give this some thought, and look forward to hearing how it is going for you.

  5. I would really like to work daily meditation into my life and would really like to hear your 'brainstorming' about it!

  6. svasti: what a fantastic idea- planning in advance! although I didn't do extremely well with meal planning for the week, creating time and mental space just thinking about a sequence will already be a step in committing to a personal practice. :)

    Dr. Jay: I agree, I do so love a good yoga class and that sense of community. At the same time, I don't necessarily agree that you need to be "good enough" to have a personal practice... because the beauty of personal practice is that it can be what you want... whether breathing, meditation or asana. You do make an important point that while practicing on your own you need to be careful and listen to your body- I've also hurt myself during my own practice, but then I've hurt myself during yoga class as well. I'll be thinking about this one.

    Greenspell: WOOT! Mini practices I have read, are actually better than a few big practices a week! mini as in 30 minutes! It's just a small change in the way we view "practice". I also forgot to say, that anyone wishing to post about the "personal practice adventure" that would be awesome!

    Mary Ellen: You are welcome! Different strategies will work for different people, I do better with committing to a certain time- which I think I will post about today. TIME... :)

    Theresa: ouuu, daily meditation sounds beautiful! We are SO coming up with some ideas :)

  7. Great idea.

    Personally, I've never had a problem with a home practice as that's where I started--it was all that was available to me when I started. So I actually find it much harder to motivate myself to go to class.

    I find there is a difference in going to class at someone's private home "studio" in rural areas verses going to studios in the city where they have rent to pay. It's not as commerical and they don't sell other things (but then they don't have to). It feels more comfortable--as you might know having been to Cathy's (which by the way, that picture is taken in front of her place, is it not? I've sat there too!)

  8. Grace: It WAS! :) And you're right, the rural classes that I've taken have been less commercial and it's been nice! I find that having someone depend on me to go to a class (for carpooling etc) helps to motivate. My friend J. emails me every week to confirm that I will be ready for karma class and they will be waiting to pick me up.... so I can't punk out!

    If you are ever in the city and would like to attend a class, let me know and I will most certainly go with you :)

  9. Well I feel a little bit like a fish out of water because I am literally just starting out in Yoga. However, I understand so well that need for personal space (and time). My youngest child starts full time school next week and it has long been one of my goals to begin a Yoga once all the children are away all day. For me the thought of having the house and the garden all to myself for this is very enticing, far more so than a Yoga class!
    I will be visitng this blog regularily soon I think.

  10. i don't do yoga (tried it once and didn't like it) but this post reminded me i saw this blog post about using yoga classes streaming online and on youtube which made practicing at home a lot easier and thought your little yoga community here would be interested. http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2009/08/brain-dump.html

  11. I'm really trying to cultivate a home practice, as I don't have the time or money for classes. I've only really dedicated myself to it for a week or so, but it feels good so far. I've cleaned up the basement and made a spot for my mat, and my husband and dog leave me alone (yay personal time!). It's a challenge to take myself out of my evening routine and do yoga, but last night I felt so aggressive and upset that I just said, "I need some yoga!" After a short practice (30-40 min), I felt so much better. The best part is that I can do whatever poses or seqences I want, depending on how my body's feeling that day. Sometimes I feel a little goofy having a printed-out sequence on the floor next to me to keep me on track, but hey, it works. Blessings!

  12. I think this is cool.

    I've almost always practiced yoga at home, only taking classes when I could afford the luxury.
    Practicing at home also has had the benefit of my daughter growing up knowing some poses and taking her own interest in yoga.
    Great post.

  13. I love your blog and I love your new focus on personal / home practice.

    I would be more than willing to spend money on a yoga class but there is no yoga presence in my area at all. It is sad. So, I have to practice at home if I want any yoga at all.

    The problem is that I work full-time and often am so tired that I don't make time for yoga or opt to laze around or nap instead. I wish this weren't the case with me. Honestly, it might just be a matter of procrastination. I think my intentions are good but my follow-through... not so much.

    I'm excited to get to follow along in your journey and hopefully get some much-needed motivation from you.



    Karen Beth :)

  14. I love practicing on my own, for specifically the reasons you mentioned: you get the opportunity to truly listen to what your body wants...and er, if it wants to pass gas (you KNOW some poses trigger it!), it's not as embarrassing as if you were in a class...

    I also love calling this an ADVENTURE and not a challenge. I also think challenges set-up unrealistic expectations and unecessary pressures...we already get enough challenge and pressure from day to day life! Yes, much better to nurture :)


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