Home Yoga Practice: Reflection and Pause

This week’s practice is focused on taking a pause and reflecting.

Often in our day-to-day we shuffle through activities and actions like we are swiping right on our phones. Swish, next. Swipe, next.

Life has become an assembly line procession of doing and getting and building and acquiring and …  it’s incessant, never ending, never fulfilled.

Our home yoga practice starts often with a big empty slate and we don’t know what to do, where to start, how to move, what to do next.

But when we get going it can be easy to fall into a monotonous pace of rhythmic, flowing movement (if you practice a vinyasa-based yoga, with fluid movement). It becomes a workout. Like Sweatin’ with the Oldies. Hit the playlist and twist, fold, reach, stretch, balance ourselves into an endorphin high. We become accustomed to, and in fact reliant upon constant “go” on the mat. Our outside world has been replicated on our mat, so peacefulness, quietude and insight are elusive. 

We aren’t doing it!

I try not to judge how people arrive on their mat. In fact a wise teacher (can’t remember who) once taught me to think of a wall of doors to choose from in terms of types of yoga to explore. It doesn’t matter which one they came through as long as they continue to walk along the path. Maybe a student entered using an old VCR tape, or they did a fun aerial yoga like a trapeze act. It’s not for me to judge whether they are adhering to the limbs of yoga as I understand it. It was an access point. What they do with their practice and how they develop it along the way is their journey.

So, start somewhere and keep going. But if you’re still wishing to grow and expand and you know that your pattern in life is “do” and “go” and “more,” you will eventually have to slow down and reflect or burn yourself up.

This week’s practice:

  • A flowing practice (Sun Salutations; a standing sequence of 3 or 4 postures; kneeling sequence; seated sequence; reclining sequence) Repeat your flowing sequence 2-3 or more times.
  • A posture hold. After the flowing sequence repetitions, hold a posture. Perhaps one in the sequence or a different one. Try to hold different postures – twists, core, deep stretches, upside down. Our experience is different in different poses and over the duration of time of the hold
  • (Repeat)
  • In the holds: Recite a mantra or affirmation or prayer
  • Journal: Journal about the experience. What did the reflection reveal? What did it help you integrate? What did it quiet within you? (Don’t expect big ‘A’ha!” moments, but small observations that over time may hold bigger revelations)
  • This practice can be 15 minutes or an hour. Work on the amount of time that works for you. But stick with it. And apply yourself to the plan, even when you want to rock out to a fun power sequence. This practice is the time for this practice and your willingness to see what comes up.

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