Today I got on my mat. Ok, I get on my mat most days, but today felt special. After a long week of holidays and family and travel, and ‘make do’ practices, I’m finally home and was expecting a friend to join me for an asana and breathing session chez moi. I thought “Now I will finally have a real practice!” But winter arrived unexpectedly today, and my yoga buddy wasn’t able to drive. I was back to facing the idea of a solo practice. In times past this might have spelled the end of my ‘get back in gear’ plans, but somehow today’s practice was amazing, focused and sweetly sweaty. It felt just as ‘real’ as any day in the shala. How’d that happen?
Well, partly after all these years I’ve finally grown up in my practice. I still LOVE being in the room with a lot of other devoted folks and all that energy, but my mat and my own breath are familiar to me, and the habit is ingrained. I can make the energy myself if I need to. And partly I’ve developed a few rituals over the past several months of mainly self practice that have really helped me make the most of my alone time and keep the yoga fires burning, even without community around me. Here are a few:
- Lemon water. I get up in the morning and drink it first thing. It makes me feel virtuous and begins the ritual of the morning. Ok, I drink my coffee after that too, but the lemon water is what makes it feel like I’m beginning my day in a healthy way and setting the tone for the practice.
- I set a time in my mind for getting on my mat and when the clock strikes that time, I “ekam inhale.” Practicing at the same time every day is even better, but though I don’t always manage to do that, I set a time in my mind the night before and keep it like an appointment.
- A little rebellion. I often practice to music, at least for the opening sun salutes and standing postures. There I said it, ashtanga police be damned. Sometimes a driving beat is helpful in getting me going or keeping me flowing. I respond deeply to rhythms. They draw my breath, heartbeat and mind all into one pointed focus.
Looking for inspiration to get on your mat, go to a class, or design your sustainable delectable life and practice? I’d love to help! I’m working on a free gift for you—a cheat sheet of my ten top tips for getting on the mat regularly. In the meantime, share your unique struggles with me via email or comments and let’s see if we can start your motivational tuneup!
And, coming in the New Year, I’m launching a new program for creating a healthy-yet-balanced life that includes a dedicated yoga practice AND room for mindful indulgence. In short, A Life Delectable. To get first dibs when the program launches and keep up to date on the latest tips and recipes, don’t forget to sign up for email updates and ‘like’ the A Life Delectable facebook page!
And now back to my New Year’s Eve healthy indulgent menu planning…
Wishing you happiness, health and lots of dark chocolate in the coming year,