December 12, 2009
Yoga Spy asks, when do Yoga Teachers practice?
My practice both before and after becoming a yoga teacher, has always been full of variety. Also, it depends what you mean by yoga practice. Asana? Pranayama? Meditation? Mindfulness? Parenting? It’s All Yoga, right?
My home asana practice has typically fallen somewhere between 1-3 times per week, sometimes 20 minutes, sometime 60. I, like most students, tend not to practice as “hard” at home as I do when I go take a class. I enjoy starting on the floor mostly and then work my way up, and usually end with some time upside down. I usually choose legs up the wall. Heaven!
About five years ago, the year after I finished my teacher training, I felt so unmotivated to practice at home and I realized that I had been pressuring myself to live up to some imagined perfect-yoga-teacher-home-practice. I was so passionate about my teaching, but I realized I was also exhausted! So, I allowed myself to only practice restoratives if I wanted to. Well, I did a mostly restorative practice for a whole year. Because I let myself do what my body craved – the restfulness – I looked forward to my practice so much more. And, interestingly enough, at the end of that year of restoratives, I found that I was actually stronger and more flexible than during my whole year of training when I was practicing 5-7 times per week!
A regular meditation practice has never manifested for me. I sometimes meditate for 5-10 minutes at the end of my practice if the phone hasn’t rung, or (insert excuse here). My meditations usually come more spontaneously. For instance, while reading a great philosophy book, I’ll come across an inspiring passage and I’ll just close my eyes and feel into that idea, watch my breath and body. This is often where I get great inspiration for classes or workshops.
In general, I have never gotten into a first-thing-in-the-morning asana practice. There’s no way on This Green Earth that I am waking up any earlier than I have to. Sleep is Medicine! After I’ve gotten my daughter off to school, and myself ready for the day, and baby is playing with something interesting, it is my Sacred Time to just sip tea, eat my almond butter/strawberry jam toast, and read my favorite article or blog. Creating the container of a relaxing morning is part of my yoga practice.
Nowadays, I enjoy getting out of the house to take a class a couple times a month. But mostly I find myself squeezing in a downdog or hip-openers on the living room floor next to the baby. When I’m trying to fall back asleep in the middle of the night after the baby has nursed, I’ll practice my easy breath, or meditate on drawing my senses inward. And, almost every day, I make time for Nap-asana!
I’m a firm believer that the practice should be adapted to fit the practitioner and his/her changing needs and goals. I am also increasingly falling into the camp of Less is More. Like my new favorite teacher, Mark Whitwell suggests, all you need is 7 minutes a day of non-obsessive movement and breath. Ahhh.
December 12 New food. You’ve never had Mexican food until you’ve dined at Mexico DF in San Francisco. If you live in the Bay Area, RUN, don’t walk to this place. If you don’t live nearby, pray that someday soon you will be in the area and be able to savor this incredible, gourmet Mexican food. All the food is so fresh, with real authentic choices like you’d get in Mexico (I’m told), as well as the California spin-offs. I’m not a food writer so I don’t even know how to describe it. Something like 5 different ceviche to choose from. A tequila bar (I was 5 months pregnant so the world was spared the antics of “Her-Tequilaness”. But they have world’s best Mexican hot chocolate as a stand in.) Pulled pork (pause for drooling). Really, any part of the pork you’re into… tongue tacos, anyone?