For years I’ve had the pleasure of regularly teaching yoga to a lovely group of 6 impressive woman in Stockholm. We meet and unite through the practice a few times a year and every time the special bond between these 6 woman, and their strong friendship, creates a unique closeness in the yoga room. An environment of feeling totally safe and supported.
They open up to the discomfort of the poses, the challenge of engaging muscles and embracing different stretches. They give themselves fully to the relaxing rest and the meditation, falling right into it, deep, like sinking to the bottom of a lake. After Savasana they don’t want to move, or to speak.
I think it’s no exaggeration to say that they love the experience. Of doing a yoga practice. The healing, the self care, is so obvious. And I get to observe it, right in front of me. And my own system remembers. The delights of moving, of breathing, of being with what is, of being silent. And so on.
Then over breakfast we talk about why it’s so difficult to maintain what we clearly know is good for us. How come it’s so easy to forget this feeling of vibrant calmness and total joy? Why can it feel like an impossible thing to come back to the practice, or basically to come back to anything that is good for us, when we all of a sudden have to fit it in with everything else?
I find that this question is not something that comes up only in this particular group of yogis. It is also one of the most common questions asked by our Teacher Training students. How can I fit this into my life? How can I discipline myself to do it?
God knows there is no single answer to this question. To take on a yoga practice usually means taking on a process that inevitably will push you in the direction of changing habits and breaking up old patterns. But many times, the step by step changing can turn out to be a long process of constant negotiation, compromising and dealing with the situations and conditions of something as normal as everyday LIFE.
And I realise that to take care of oneself, to make this a priority, requires a lot of things. Maybe it has something to do with discrimination, self inquiry, determination, the existing support around oneself and perhaps even…courage? Something else that I’ve discovered that helps greatly in this field is mindfulness. The ability of being mindful and present in simple situations. Situations that tend to push us here and there as we move through our day. And that in those moments, take an extra breath and be with all that is experienced fully. I find this extremely useful when it comes to making choices and finding the appropriate amount of energy for different things.
Stepping to the plank, take an extra breath, land in Downward dog, take an extra breath, open up the computer screen, take an extra breath, writing an email, take and extra breath…before you press send …