A year passed. A year of fears and struggles. It’s been hard and challenging times, in so many different ways and levels. Different and the same for all of us. And for our ashtanga community it’s been a hard year of self-practice and not being able to connect with other practitioners over a morning cup of chai before facing the day. I am sure many of you miss it. I do, a lot. But when I talk to many of you (those who managed to keep practicing on their own or Zoom) what I keep hearing is that they are all really grateful for having their yoga practice. It’s been keeping them afloat. The yoga practice definitely has been keeping me sane and able to deal with everyday struggles during the pandemic and stay calm when thinking about the hard-to-imagine future.
Everyday practice has been possible thanks to our community, practicing together over Zoom. I know it’s not ideal and not the same as meeting in person but it was the closest to best in current situation. Hopefully soon when the weather gets warmer in the morning we will be able to meet in the park again, before we even meet in the studio.
You all know how challenging it could be to keep consistent practice when doing on your own and how hard it is to find the motivation day after day. And often once we stop it is hard to get back to it, especially when we start beating ourselves up for not doing it and judging ourselves and the quality of our practice.
I believe that consistent practice doesn’t mean that we have to give everything everyday and do the full practice day in and day out. Consistent practice doesn’t mean we have to do all the poses with the maximum effort no matter what. It’s not a sustainable approach to me. We get tired and drained off energy these days even more, the body pains and aches reflect our daily struggles and it is important to adjust our practice to what’s going on with us and our lives.
Maybe it won’t be the whole primary or second series day, maybe you need to do easier version of the pose, modify or skip it for a little bit so the body can heal. Maybe gentle or restorative practice is necessary that day. Or maybe it is a sit and breath practice today. For me that’s the way yoga can support my life. I believe my yoga practice is suppose to make my life easier and better not the other way round. And if you still want to do the modified practice together with others over zoom it is great. It may help someone else to make similar choice when it is needed. Nobody is judging you and I am there to help and support.
You have heard many times and you know it but sometimes it is good to be reminded. Show some compassion towards yourself. Give yourself permission to let go from time to time. Give yourself some love.
PS. I am not encouraging you to do whatever you like all the time otherwise the ashtanga will lose its essence and teachings but I am encouraging you to listen to your body and respond to it with loving kindness, especially these days. So you can go back to your full practice with more strength when time comes.