27 Jun How does your practice feel?
Where and how does the practice of Gentle Yoga begin?
Does it begin when you step onto your mat?
Is it best to practice in the AM or the PM?
How long does a practice need to be to be beneficial?
Does asana need to be vigorous – or hard – to be effective?
There are so many questions about what makes a practice “good,” or “right,” or “true.” When in fact, as my teacher’s teacher T.K.V. Desikachar emphasized in his book The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice, there are no prescriptions regarding where and how our practice should begin. Or how our practice should look.
What is much more is much more important than how our practice looks, is how it feels.
If we give priority to how we feel over all other considerations, the answer to all of our questions around yoga is – It depends.
Maybe we have been conditioned to believe that practicing first thing in the morning is the “best” time to practice. And for some it may very well be. But if you tune into your energy, become aware of your constitution, maybe for you a late afternoon practice would serve you better. Or maybe one day a morning practice would be best, but the next morning you are feeling fatigued, and you simply want to linger over a good cup of coffee and wake up slow.
The very cool thing about our yoga practice, is that the more we practice, the better we can tune into how we feel – our energy and our constitution – and the more agency we create.
Agency refers to the feeling that we have control over our actions and their consequences. Agency enables us to choose from our internal wisdom, rather than outside influences. And agency empowers us to be more curious and compassionate, rather than absolute.
With curiosity and compassion, we move away from certainly, and when we move away from certain, we find ourselves in the realm of pure possibility.
The next time you step onto your mat or sit down on your meditation cushion, remember that agency is your birthright. You have the power to choose. You know what is best for your body – your mind, your energy.
You, my friend, are the ultimate authority.
Welcome to your practice.