Thank goodness for Yogaglo, as it has been a nice alternative on those days that I don't want to "lead" a class (either just myself or with friends) and has allowed me to experience new styles and sequences without paying 18$ for a studio class.
Challenges remain for the home practice adventure, which have cropped up since I have been practicing at home more frequently. Prior to my "yoga budget" a few months ago, I had finally attained a mental space of focus while on my mat. It was like magic, as soon as I stepped on that rectangular green rubber *most* of the outside world stopped. It was easy to acknowledge and move on from erroneous "life" thoughts and simply be present.
The past few weeks this ability has completely disappeared during my home practice. For a while I chalked it up to stress, emotional whatevers.... but finally yesterday I figured it out. It's combo of Pavlovian triggers and accountability.
One of the reasons that we spent some time talking about creating a visual/scent/auditory yoga space at home was because of our tendencies to create associations. A yoga studio is always going to be the space where "practice" occurs, which makes it easier for your mind to get into "yoga" mode. Unconsciously set neural pathways are immediately set into place to encourage what "usually" happens cognitively in that space.
Which is fantastic, except it doesn't encourage generalization of skills in any way shape or form. That's ultimately what we want- right? To take our sense of "zen", of Presence, of Yogic Joy out into the big wide world with us. With any set of learned behaviour (whether conscious or not) the more practice in varied settings, the more likely our brain will be able to generalize that skill. With something as subtle and immeasurable as mindful awareness, it is even more important to start building the neurological base for increased likelihood of a more "yogic" response in the hectic everyday life.
Practicing at home is a nice next step in the journey of Yoga as Life and not simply Asana (physical). Except, all of a sudden my mind zipped right back to anxiety, Type A, GO mode. I'm surrounded by visual reminders of what I think I "need" or "have" to be doing. The phone rings and disrupts my practice. The oil burner sizzles as the water was boiled off. I'm hot, or I'm cold.
Why not simply ignore these distractions? Other than the fact that it's a LOT harder to do than in the studio, personal practice has almost no sense of external accountability. No one can see me pause to blow my nose, open the window, answer the phone or take a drink of water. No one will know if I (gasp) fast forward the *boring* (read: difficult) part of meditation at the beginning or end of the online class.
(ocean waves on Barrington Street during Nocturne; Art by Night)
Except at home you could...
During our friend yoga practices at the apartment we've really taken to chatting during the online class along with beginning and ending much to late/early. It's partly my fault, as I set that tone. Unfortunately, the result has been a decreased sense of personal respect for the reason why we were there, ourselves and our practice. Instead of creating a space where we can nurture our practice and our learning, we have been half-heartedly attempting postures and "punking out" prematurely. "Instead of attempting a pose or moving into the modifications I can simply sit back or straighten into standing." Essentially cheating myself of achieving the potential.
Now this doesn't mean that yoga at home can't be lighthearted and playful. I think that balance of sincere and fun is what I'm trying to find.
So here are a few things I'm going to try to do differently over the next few weeks during my solitary personal practice and when friends come over:
- Light some of my beeswax candles to set the tone
- burn some essential oils
- turn the ringer off the phone
- When alone or without yogaglo- play some "yoga" music
- inform myself and friends of start and end time
- stop chatting during "class"
- stop skipping postures or gawking at crazy examples of flexibility. Instead I'll do the modification or child's pose
- renew our "ohms" at the beginning and end of each practice
How is all of your Personal Practice Adventure going? I know Jamie from "On the Mat" had some concerns re: pets invading the yoga time. Since I don't have any pets I was just wondering if any of you had some suggestions for her :)
article and photo copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com