Yoga at Home During a Pandemic
How have you allowed your yoga practice to evolve? Yes! Throughout the years, the yoga practice changes to reflect the ebb and flow of experiences. Before I had my son, my yoga practice consisted mainly of group classes and longer weekend workshops. Well, my yoga practice changed with my journey of motherhood. Instead of meditating three hours at a time, I meditated 10 minutes here and there. I did yoga postures with a toddler climbing me and playing Thomas the Train (where my legs are the train tracks). It was a far cry from the days at a spa-like environment of a yoga studio. So I had to rewrite my yoga practice and allow it to evolve to fit the needs of my REAL life. With the Pandemic fully in motion, we are asked to change our yoga practice. I am curious to know: how has your practice changed since the Pandemic? As a yoga instructor, I am also being asked to change how I connect with other yoga practitioners and my yoga students. I have been putting more attention into creating video content so that it is easily accessible for everyone. I teach online yoga classes more than I ever have in the past. The question comes up all the time: how do you discipline yourself to do a yoga practice at home? I have reflected upon my twenty years of yoga and came up with unique ways to keep engaged in personal practice. Yes! Keep yourself engaged in yoga! Here are my tips on how to create a yoga practice at home:
Make your yoga practice an unconditional practice, where conditions don’t dictate the results of the yoga experience. There have been plenty of times when I just unrolled a mat in the middle of a messy living room, without the candles and aromatherapy. Sure! Candles, aromatherapy, and incense all make a living space more peaceful and beautiful. But learn to practice even when your environment is not the most ideal. In my opinion, it is more important to be adaptable than to be conditional with my yoga practice. You can genuinely practice anywhere at any time!
There are times in life when it is okay to skip a day, a week, or even a month. When you are truly in love with your yoga practice, you can easily return to the postures and meditations again. There are circumstances in life where yoga poses are not the priority. Taking care of an aging parent or surgery that is life-saving are just a few examples that take precedence in life. In my life experiences, I found that yoga’s true essence gets more integrated with the mundane. Rama Jyoti Vernon used to talk about using her kitchen sink as a alter for the Divine. When we understand yoga, we know that it is in all that we do and say and feel.
Encouraging words go a long way! Give to yourself as you would give to your own best friend. Develop an intimate relationship with yourself. Know yourself more than any other could know you. Make yoga dates with yourself and make promises to yourself to keep them! We can not serve others entirely if we are empty or exhausted. Allow yourself to receive all that is Divine to be of service to others.
When you are vacuuming the living room, take a moment and stretch the arms above the head. When you are gardening, rest a moment and do cat and cow poses to loosen up the lower back. When you are cooking a meal, stand in a tree pose to practice your balance. These are spontaneous yoga breaks that naturally happen throughout the tasks of the day. You don’t need to be wearing yoga pants, and you don’t need to be in a yoga studio. The postures can be done spontaneously. Don’t forget the breath!
I have been practicing yoga for twenty-one years, and indeed, there were times when yoga was not fun. When I was first learning yoga, I was rigid and strict about the yoga practice. As my practice developed, I realized that yoga needs to be fun. Actually, life needs to be fun. Laughter and fun are sometimes the ONLY medicine during your yoga practice. I often laugh at myself when I make my yoga videos because I say weird and goofy things. I often laugh at myself when I teach yoga classes because, again, I say weird and good things sometimes. I often laugh at myself when I meditate. I know many have suffered during this Pandemic, and I don’t want to downplay suffering. In my heart, I know that the Divine delights in the balance of humor and play.