Have you ever had one of those practices where ever posture felt like punishment?
Well, that was my practice this morning… there was a lot of self-pity “child’s pose” happening after each asana, along with some overly dramatic moaning and groaning as I chipped my way through the cement in my body, and even more so, in my mind.
I’m not sure if it was because today is the winter solstice, with the longest night of the year, but I was certainly feeling the heavy weight of the darkness pressing in on my thoughts as I slowly crawled my way through this morning’s yoga practice.
It made me think about why I choose to practice in the first place.
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Why do I practice this Ashtanga Yoga?”
It certainly isn’t the easiest type of yoga out there.
It demands commitment right from the beginning, and doesn’t allow much room for flirting.
It requires a certain amount of trust in the process, courage to confront your fears and face your shadows, and the stamina to go the distance, even when it feels like more work then reward.
The practice demands all of this from a student before it will reveal the depth of its richness, or offer its bounty for the body and spirit.
For me, I practice because it carves out space within my body, and creates clarity in my mind.
It realigns me day after day with a higher purpose, and a more noble way of being in the world.
It teaches where to let go, and where I should hold on.
It strengthens my ability to bring forth the qualities such as patience, compassion, joy, forgiveness, peace, truth, and love.
It shows me that surrendering to something greater then myself is not as scary as it might seem, and that through renouncing the results of my effort, I find true freedom and release.
Today was one of those days. However, I was reminded that although I may not always feel fantastic during the practice, I somehow always feel better by the end, just for making it through, and doing my best on any giving day.
The practice is our mirror for life. As we polish the mirror daily, we can see more clearly the truth of who we are, and gain deeper insight into the ways we choose to live.
But it really is not so important to know why I practice this Yoga.
The real value is in answering this question for yourself: Why Do I Practice?