The Role of Practice

Hello, my darlings.  I hope you've been well.

I've been busy with schoolwork and practice and all manner of life, all of which are in auspicious states.  I have perched at my desk and tried to write here many times, but nothing has seemed relevant or appropriate for this space.

My practice has changed, as sometimes it must.  Many days, I have time for only a minimal Ashtanga practice.  I practice the Surya Namaskara, Paschimottanasana, Purvottanasana, Sirsasana, Baddha Padmasana, Padmasana, and Tolasana, and I savor every moment.  Sometimes, this basic practice stretches to forty-five minutes with long, full breaths throughout, my body pouring through the motions like molasses.  Other days, I do an hour or ninety minutes of strong, intuitive Vinyasa, taking cues directly from the daily body condition.  Full Ashtanga practices are rare.

I am teaching just two classes a week, neither of which are Ashtanga.  The yoga has morphed  suddenly from this expansive, life-enveloping thing to a bit of karmic work a couple times a week and a compact but necessary daily endeavor.  It has become harder and harder to keep the mind space sacred during practice as my delightfully simple life has grown wound with complications.  However, I have matured into acceptance of these changes and now survey the unfamiliar landscape with bright and curious eyes.

Even with the reduction in practice, I have kept my strength.  Flexibility suffers.  My hips ache at night and my back will sometimes twitch after a day of school, carrying my heavy pack.  My ankles and feet are stiff, but though the sensations may be harsh, years of daily practice make the ritual so easy.  Somehow, a thirty minute practice is as full and satisfying as two hours.  The skill of relaxation is established.

It seems the role of yoga in my life has shifted, at least for the time being, but my appreciation for the practice only grows.  In a way, teaching so little and writing here less, I feel as though I have my practice back.  This change is healthy, and it is time for me to develop other areas of my potential with the diligence and passion with which I've delved into the yoga.  This is not to say that I won't be writing here much longer.  I will keep writing, and teaching, and practicing, but I will do it from a different place and with a different force.  This is the tool of yoga, to be used as it best serves.

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