Setting up a successful home practice starts with acknowledging and understanding the internal obstacles. Because even when we have removed the external ones - the pets are outside, our family is otherwise occupied, we have dedicated the time and space to get on our mat, our phones are off - the interior mutiny is imminent.
There is nothing wrong with you. You are not a slacker, you are not lazy, and you are not under-motivated. You are a human being, and this internal resistance is part of our design.
We have all sat down on our floors to practice and suddenly felt compelled to vacuum instead. We have all gotten as far as one sun salutation and felt like we have too many things to do to continue. And we have all felt simultaneously justified and regretful about our choices.
Yogis have long been studying the internal realm with an interest in seeing how we work. Why we are the way we are, what inspires us, what blocks us, what frees us and what holds us? The Western mindset tends to study with an interest in improving. The Eastern teachings suggest we look simply to see. And seeing ourselves clearly changes everything.
With careful observation, we can begin to witness our immense resistance to change and desire to continue what is. The yogis call this abhinivesha, sometimes translated as attachment to the status quo. So strong, the texts say, it overwhelms even the wise.
This drive comes simply from the illusion that we are separate and small and we need to protect ourselves for survival. In the smallness we experience a sense of known that allows us to feel safe for a short while. Quickly we resent the protection patterns we have created because we no longer feel free.
The practices of yoga are designed to free us from this vigilant grip. Because while all of us have experienced resistance and tension, we have also experienced the immense joy and freedom that comes from just a little time on the mat. Really, we are continually amazed at how little it takes to feel so much better.
Sometimes, it’s easier to feel connected when you are with your yogi friends. We are here to help. Maybe Sarah's Ashtanga inspired flow is the sequence that gets you started. Maybe its Julia’s beautiful voice, Jessica’s creative asana, Patricia’s invitation to pranayama, or Zubin’s tender instruction of breath awareness that supports you. Let us know what’s working.
We are in this together. Stay close.
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