When does your yoga practice start? When you make the decision to go? When you step on your mat? And what does it mean to be a dedicated yogi/yogini?
I set off to class this morning and the sun was bright and the air cold. I went by bike for the first time in a long time. Half way there I realised I didn't want to be indoors. I felt a bit of an internal struggle about loosing that practice time as it's hard to come by, what with juggling life, kids, social life and work.
As I turned my bike around and decided to cycle along the seafront to Rottingdean I came to the understanding that actually my bike ride was my practice. No mat needed. The movement of my body, legs circling, back straight and my arms gently bent to capture the bumps like shock absorbers. I could feel my heart beating in my chest and my breath speeding up. My breath was full, deep, needed. As I found my rhythm I realised that this was the perfect practice for me in that moment.
Half way I stopped for a hot drink. I sat on a bench looking out at the still, flat water watching the sun glistening on the surface. I closed my eyes and felt the cool wind against my cheek and my slow breath and heart beat. I followed my breath with interest. Then when I was ready I cycled back.
Yoga used to be a life practice. It wasn't something we only did when we rolled out our mats. It was how we ate, talked to people, how we thought, how we managed ourselves in the world and how we related to other living things.
Somehow for many 'yoga' has been lost in translation. It has become solely the asana practice and nothing beyond. And to be dedicated doesn't mean you getting up every morning at the same time and religiously moving through your asana practice. It's amazing if you do and it will reap wonderful rewards but it's not the only way to 'do' yoga. For me dedication is about the amount of time you think, feel, explore in life using yogic principles, philosophy and if nothing else with kindness in your heart.
I remembered that today and from this starting point I will continue to make my long journey home - to the living practice of yoga.
Hari om tat sat