Would you believe it that even as a yoga teacher, there are times that I forget how transformational the physical and mental practices of yoga can be?
What many people do not know is that when you become a teacher of yoga, your own personal practice often gets placed on the back-burner. Between teaching and preparing for classes, there is little time leftover to prioritize for your own time on the mat.
Last night I was playing around in my family room after dinner. I was stretching, gently twisting and digesting. I have a space just large enough for me to practice without knocking into furniture or walls. The television was on and my husband was witness to my spontaneous yoga sequence. This used to be an all too common occurrence in our household. I would balance and open and move whenever I had the chance. I would experiment and play freely without fear of embarrassing myself in front of a group. Growing my practice in the safety of my own home was a nightly routine.
Lately, however, my own practice of yoga has fallen to the wayside. The way, wayside sadly. As I moved and explored my body last night, I remembered what it felt like to do something I love simply because I enjoy it and it feels good. It did not matter what I looked like or if I made time to get into a studio for a class. It did not need to be an hour long practice led by a video or instructor. I tuned into my body and breath and simply moved.
It can be all too easy to forget how good the things that we enjoy make us feel – especially when those things take time and effort. Think about this in your life. What do you enjoy that you do not make time for? Do you feel better when you eat well, but default back to eating food that is easier to prepare or faster to get? Do you enjoy reading, but prioritize everything but reading? Do you feel alive when you are outside, but struggle to make the time to really be there?
I have to imagine that I am not alone in these experiences. I have to believe that this is a very human response to being, well… a human.
This morning I made the time to step back onto my mat in a studio. I prioritized an experience that supported me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And, yes, while I was on my mat, there were probably at least one hundred other things I could have been doing – but this morning I made time for something that I knew I would enjoy. Something that I love.
Yoga may not be your “thing,” but I am sure that you have your own practice that brings you joy, peace or relaxation – whatever it is that you may be seeking. Make time for it. Make time for you.
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