Something we have both pondered over the years as yoga teachers is our own self practice... “Am I a real yoga teacher if I don’t have a practice on my mat for an hour each day?” And if I don’t do this, what does that mean? What if people find out!! This way of thinking can lead to self doubt and the feeling of being an imposter.
The thing is, we have found that this doesn’t always fit into our lives with having full time jobs alongside the life stuff that shows up, sometimes when you are least expecting! So how do we square this circle? Through self reflection and talking together we have come to realise that our yoga practice is individual to each of us. We may not be on our mat every day but everyday we practice yoga. It’s our approach to life.
It is interesting how caught up our minds can get on what something should ‘look’ like to be ‘real’ and to be ‘valid’, but what is this based on? These additional pressures lead to the practice moving further out of reach.
Self compassion and acceptance can support us to soften the ideas we hold, which can be painful as we have often invested time and effort into them! We have a choice to find the practices that can support us to connect - mindfulness of breath, pranayama, posture work, meditation, a walk in nature and many others. And in connecting, we can cultivate the courage needed to look at the darker parts by finding a soothing breath, seeing if we can find some softness or ease in the body and speaking to ourselves like we would talk to a dear friend who is in need.
As we find our expression of our yoga practice, we realise that it doesn't need to look like others. This creates the freedom and space necessary to develop the discipline that is needed and the flexibility to meet ourselves as we are in each moment. In doing so, our practice can be responsive to our needs and create openness to be with ourselves as we are.
“Compassion is not a virtue, it's a commitment. It’s not something we have or don’t have, it's something we choose to practice"
- Brene Brown -
When we choose to practice compassion each day we are choosing to practice yoga.