Now that I live in a city where I have to walk and commute through both snow and freezing cold temperatures, I'm finding my willingness to go anywhere except work and home has decreased substantially. Whether we want it to or not, winter very much impacts our yoga practice. How should we approach our yoga classes in a way that doesn't overtax our already stressed minds and nervous systems, but simultaneously helps to combat our winter blues?
It's been a long time since I've put up a blog post. This essay is dedicated to those who still encourage me to write, even in spite of my half-year negligence. Everyone needs friends as supportive as you all are!
A lot has happened since I last posted in July: I am grateful to be a regularly scheduled teacher at my home studio, Yogaworks. I've also started teaching a Pilates class, something I never thought I would do (more to come on that in the future). And, as you would expect, another winter has arrived on the tails of a beautiful summer. I am writing this post the morning after blizzard Juno came to visit our city. Although the storm was much more mild than many of us expected, I still have the luxury of being snowed in with my dogs, my thoughts, and lots of chocolate.
"Practice and all is coming."
-Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
To an outsider, yoga culture can seem very cultish. It is filled with its own luminaries, attire choices, and even vocabulary. The word "practice" is teeming with this type of mystical connotation. If you've ever stepped into a yoga class, or even talked to friends that have, you will notice that everyone uses the word "practice" to describe their yoga activity. I can still recall the first few classes I ever took and my feeling of apprehension when teachers would ask their students, "How is your practice coming along?" or the tiny bit of envy when another student was complimented on their "strong practice." I have since adopted the word into my vocabulary without really understanding the origin of the term.
This past weekend, I attended a series of workshops by one of my teachers, Maty Ezraty. During class, she said that when we (inevitably) discovered something new that we needed to work on, that we should approach the opportunity for self-improvement with joy and optimism. If we approach yoga in this way, our practice will always continue to grow, and we can find a method for staying positive and free of judgement from our own expectations. At the end of this discussion, she reminded us that "all we are doing is practicing every day," just practicing to get a little bit better each time.