No one can know You, better than You.
If I had to summarize one of the biggest lessons the Mysore yoga practice has taught me, it’s trusting myself. This is the power of having a personal practice, having the time to steep in both our wisdom, our processing of what we are experiencing and at times, our delusions.
I often think of personal practice as similar to what a musician must experience through practice of their instrument. They take time to work with the guidance from a teacher or from where information has been sourced and let it percolate within until the lesson is integrated and perhaps some new insight springs forth out of that practice. Eventually the musician plays as if the instrument is an extension of their own body and this only comes through the experience of personal practice.
This month, I’ve had the opportunity as a yoga teacher to begin teaching the mysore method unique to Ashtanga, in a small introductory setting designed for beginners. The mysore practice is structured around each individual practicing at their own pace. One thing, I’ve noticed is that when people are given the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned at their own pace, timed with their own breath, the practice quickly takes on a meditative form, even when students are brand new, this is apparent. That time out to integrate the teachings becomes much more internal. The internal connects the dots inside, marrying breath with the feeling of embodiment, noticing subtle sensations, tuning into the ebb and flow of both good and bad sensations and making necessary adjustments so that the mind stays calm. The inner workings of the mind have the opportunity to either quiet down and focus on the present or to start to derail into “Vrittis” or the fluctuations of mind. Either way, the practitioner gets to experience whatever is arising without interference, and that is where so much of the nectar of yoga practice lies. This gives us the opportunity to truely get to know ourselves.
Regardless of what your yoga practice looks like, this opportunity to develop a personal practice is available to you. Perhaps it’s something simple like taking 5 minutes every morning when you wake to do a few stretches or asanas that feel good for you while you take some slow deep breaths and prepare yourself mentally for the day. Or perhaps it’s before going to bed, taking the time out to process your day, reflecting on what you learned, what you can be grateful for about the day whilst practicing just a couple of poses that feel good for you and prepare you for sleep.
There are many ways to have a personal practice and no matter how that comes forth in your life, always remember to trust the guidence from within. You know you better than anyone else and whilst we do need structure and discipline often in life and guidence from a more experienced teacher, it’s what we do with those teachings that really matters. Trust and listen to your own wisdom first. Everything will fall into place.
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