This year began with a goal to practise yoga daily, both on and off the mat. I practised on the mat every day up until a few days ago. I’ve made some excuses as to why I wasn’t showing up to the mat but I didn’t beat myself up over this. No matter how it might have seemed to be a failure on my part, I showed myself some self-compassion and understanding.
By showing this self-compassion I was able to reflect on what wasn’t working for me. Although I wasn’t showing up to the mat consistently I realised that I was in fact practising yoga in other ways.
breath – meditation – self-study
I’m workings towards a better understanding of the 8 Limbs of Yoga including the Yamas and Niyamas. Most comforting is learning that I’m naturally inclined to practices off the mat. Connecting with my heart and living purely is already a yogic practice.
The 8 Limbs
As far as I’ve been reading, I understand the eight limbs of yoga to be the following.
Yamas (external ethics)
Niyamas (internal ethics)
Pratyahara (sensory withdrawal)
Through my constant self-study and enquiry, meditation and breathing practices, self-acceptance, being present in the moment, being truthful and peaceful I can feel content in knowing I am practising yoga every day.
Showing up to the mat is the ‘yoga’ we tend to see more of through social media. It’s where the business of yoga lives and where we sometimes feel inadequate or discouraged.
My goal is to remove these expectations. In my heart I know yoga asana is for all and it is an individual practice. There is no competition on the mat. It’s easy to forget this and I let my head get in the way of showing up to the mat. Returning to my heart vision will help me to remember this.
I’m feeling grateful for the lessons in 2017 so far. I’m grateful for this opportunity to focus inward. Without this self-enquiry, without being present in the moment I wouldn’t be able to reflect on this and come to accept where I am on my own yoga journey. And it feels nice.