I have been practicing Yoga on a daily basis for almost two years now. I have my home practice that involves the gentle, loving guidance of my favorite youtube yoga instructor Juliana Semenova of Boho Beautiful.
I have taken various classes at different studio’s, and have a regular once a week vinyasa flow class that I attend. I also practice various poses that I want to experience whenever the mat calls me, usually the more difficult, intermediate to advanced postures (for me) which lately has been the Bird of Paradise. This pose requires balance in a way that is very challenging for me. It is unlikely that my leg will ever be up straight, as I don’t have the flexibility to do a standing one-legged split, but I will feel strong when I can bind, stand up, extend my leg and actually hold the pose for more than one breath. I am getting closer.
I look back at the beginning of my Yoga journey and am amazed at how far I have come both physically and mentally. I used to have many more negative voices in my head while I practiced. The thoughts were critical and self-defeating and usually about my alignment, form and my inability to “get it right.” Not to say that sometimes I don’t hear those voices from time to time, but they are much less. More frequently I am able to be on my mat and be present. I am able to enjoy the flow from one asana to the next and be more gentle with myself when I fall out of a pose. I am able to tune in to my own body and be content with my own practice, even if the person next to me in class is much more agile or can balance for a longer period of time.
I have come to rely on my yoga practice as an important part of my daily self-care. It grounds me, calms me and brings a sense of oneness with my inner self and my breath in a way nothing else can. My practice leads me into a space to be still and at peace. After shavasana, when I sit back up on my mat I often go immediately into my practice of meditation. It might be using a guided imagery on my phone, or just deeply breathing and focusing on the sounds around me. It could also be a focused thought or mantra that brings me comfort or a specific intention to be sent out to someone I love. Regardless of my choice of meditation, it is always healing.
I love my yoga and meditation practice and I know I would be a jumbled mess of anxiety and unbalanced chaos without it. I am grateful for my mat and all the teachers in my life today.