With the Easter weekend approaching, usual class timetables have been thrown into disarray and I’ve had many questions regarding home practice. Whilst I’m sure we would all love to set aside time every day to hit the mat, life has a nasty habit of getting in the way. The myriad of demands we all have in our various roles as spouse, child, worker, chief kitten carer (that’s me!) invariably get in the way. But, the worst thing we can do is to beat ourselves up about this and brand ourselves ‘bad yogis’. Yoga teaches us to show loving kindness and this is not just towards others. It starts by extending it to ourselves. That being said, perhaps we also need to re-evaluate what constitutes a home practice. Who decreed it has to be an hour? Or that you need to roll out your mat in order to do 10 rounds of sun salutes? Yoga is a state of being; a way to consciously live your life, not just something we do on the mat. So, maybe it’s taking a moment away from your desk to breath mindfully for 5 minutes. Even better if you can get outside and walk, drawing the first sweet spring air deep into the belly. Or, sitting at the kitchen table and doing some simple stretches on the chair, easing out tight necks and shoulders, seated cat cow to mobilise the spine. If you have more time, there are some wonderful free online resources, offering short, safe routines you can follow. Enjoy the weekend, relish time away from work and routines, spend ing that time with those you love instead and relax! Normal service on the mat resumes next week!
As I to drove to teach this morning, I felt distinctly spring like. Maybe it was the sun shining just a little bit brighter, or the sight of bright daffodils and delicate snowdrops, braving the easterly wind to raise their heads. The days are lengthening with lighter mornings and evenings and we can begin to emerge, blinking and yawning from the winter gloom.
Spring is associated with joy, fresh energy and new beginnings. And, of course, spring cleaning! March is the perfect time to do some internal spring cleaning. A time to take an honest look at your life, and what you are creating each day. Similar to clearing our wardrobes of stuff which no longer fits or suits us, it’s a time to take an inventory of our lives, what needs to be tossed away, and what to hold on to. Through honest and intentional choices, we can see what’s missing, what’s been tossed to the side, and what is holding us back from creating something wonderful.
I use my yoga practice as a guide to bring myself back to centre and to reflect on what I am sending my energy to. Through my daily practice I choose one clear intention. The intention could be as simple as a word; “clarity”, “peace”, “compassion”, or it could be more detailed, like visualizing your dreams. But the important thing is to choose. Choose what we want to put into the world, what we want to get back, and use our yoga practice as a pathway to that end. Because once we choose to let go of what is not serving us, choose to move forward with clarity, kindness, faith and a little bit of attitude, well then, we have something to celebrate. Your yoga practice is a guide; a nudge toward our own true self.
So, as you practise yoga this week, on the mat and in your life, I encourage you to choose an intention. Through every breath, heart opener, hip opener, twist and hold, choose what you release and what you hold tight. Toss out the old stuff that is taking up useful space, open the windows of your view, clean out the foundation. Because then, all that’s left is the celebration of what is possible. And don’t forget to blast some music, laugh, dance and sing as loudly and joyously (and in my case, as tunelessly!) as you can.