For years I’ve cultivated and maintained a home tai chi practice. It became as natural as breathing. Wake up, have a sit session, do a tai chi form and move on about my day.
I’d do more aggressive practice sessions on Thursday nights and Saturdays and Sundays but the home practice is where the growth occurred.
With yoga it’s another thing. I’ve not been able to get myself onto my mat in my home in any consistent manner. The pulse of a room is maybe too attractive, seductive and convenient? Maybe my yoga has become more social than internal?
That said I’m not using this as a way to tell my tai chi or yoga students to give up on their home practice. I know it’s critical to development as an internal energy cultivator.
Maybe my tai chi practice can teach me something?
The repetition of a form was easy to slip on like a glove.
I could pursue Ashtanga more as my home practice.
But there’s more to it. I have to move furniture. Sweep and vacuum before putting my mat down (I’ve got two cats and am not the neatest human).
Aah. That’s it. I don’t have the space at home for my yoga.
But even as these words pop up in my mind I know it’s another excuse.
Getting the temperature up in my loft for my practice is another issue. It is hard to get it cranking warm like in the studio – like I’m accustomed to. Samsara?
I could wear layers.
The point is it won’t be the same as what I’m used to and I’m stuck wandering aimlessly in samsara even in my yoga practice.
It’s a hurdle to overcome.
So what to do about it?
I could start today, but today is my normal day off for yoga. Giving the body a break.
Thursday is my power yoga with my guru. It’s like against the law or something to miss the 7:30 p.m. Thursday class.
Friday night is the advanced yoga class, another unspoken mandatory attendance thing.
Shall I go on? Saturday is my day to teach yoga and tai chi and take a class from a teacher I really enjoy, Misty Flahie.
Sunday? Another habitual must-be-seen-there class.
Pattern? Is my yoga practice more a pattern of convenience, habit and in-crowd socializing? Am I on my mat in a crowded room driven more out of ego than inner probing and peeling away?
Maybe the comparison of my tai chi against the yoga isn’t a fair one. Tai chi is an extremely solitary pursuit. I actually don’t like to do group forms.
And only through hours and hours and years of standing practice and repeated forms and qi gong practice did I ever start to “feel” the qi and spiraling and coiling energy. It’s infinitely subtle and infinitely overwhelming and powerful. And I had to wait patiently for a taste, never knowing when it would come and eventually dismissing that as the goal.
Yoga and power yoga in particular feels like instantly plugging into a large outlet of juice and letting the charges just fly all over the place inside me. It’s a rush, let me tell you. But I don’t get that charge on the mat at home.
For one, the mind is greatly invested on the home mat. And I like checking out of the mind when I practice at the studio. There’s something ultimately freeing about shutting down the monkey mind – pushing mute on her, shall we say?
Apparently ruminating on my home yoga practice, or lack thereof, brings into focus a lot that is begging for attention.
- Being mindful of prana and energy cultivation and truly cultivate it.
- Getting out of ego and focusing on the “why” of my practice – and being honest about it.
- Letting go of patterns and excuses.
I’ll get right on that.