It's official, I am a yoga junkie. I have decided that now is the time for me to give up my twice weekly yoga class. Last night was the first class I missed and I can honestly say that I was totally having withdrawal symptoms!! This is crazy. It was so freakin hard to stay away!! I've often wondered and now I can say for sure that yoga is simply another addiction for me.
Here I am, after a 16 year love affair with yoga, I find myself a yoga orphan. This is the first time that I do not have a regular class to "belong" to. The Universe has put me in this unsettling position which means, of course, there is a lesson to be learned. I better learn it quickly because I am not liking how this feels!!
What could this lesson be? Here's my initial thoughts:
* All addictions are attachments and attachments lead to suffering.... even good attachments are still attachments. Suffer is inevitable because nothing lasts forever.
* Trusting and following my inner guidance even if it takes me away from a teacher who I love and respect.
* There comes a time when we need to rely on our own will-power and not on others to motivate us to practice.
* A great teacher inspires us, inspires and fans the flames of our own desire for self-realization but does not keep us dependent on them for our progress on this spiritual path.
That's what I've come up with so far but I'm sure the Universe has big plans for me. I can't wait to see what unfolds next.
What motivates us to practice? Is it simply an addiction? When we are practicing daily sadhana in our own home the motivation changes. We come to the mat (okay, I admit it - in my pajamas most mornings) as we are. No fan fare, no fancy yoga gear, no-one to impress. Just you and your will. The game is different.
This morning, reality set in and I realized that the stakes just got higher. Do I have the discipline to continue my daily practice? Will I be enough support for myself? Who will push me to challenge myself? Eknath Easwaran says "you have the greatest friend in the world - your will and you have the greatest enemy in the world - your will". Is my will friend or foe?
What will be my motivation on those cold, dark, winter mornings? Will my addiction to the practice be enough to get myself out of my warm comfy bed and onto the cold mat? Only time will tell. Will my addiction to yoga continue even if I'm on my own? I sure as hell hope so!!
A personal practice does give me a unique advantage. It gives me the opportunity to explore asanas that are too scary to practice in a group. This morning I actually worked on shoulder-stand! When I first started a home practice years ago I felt like I had to think too much when I was practicing on my own. I had to figure out what pose came next. How long should I hold each pose. Did I remember the counter pose. When I went to class I didn't have to think. I trusted the teacher completely. I closed my eyes and flowed with his instructions. Just like with other addictions, it was a way to escape from my mind for a little while.
What I've been discovering is that the same is true in my home practice. Instead of following the guidance of the teacher's voice I am now following the inner guidance of my own inner voice. My body tells me exactly what poses to do. It tells me how long to hold each pose. The counter pose comes naturally. We all have this inner guide. The trouble is that most times there is too much chatter in the mind to notice the whispers. Even when we do hear it, we sometimes don't trust. When we tune in and trust ourselves there's no doubt that we know exactly what the practice should look like. Each home practice is guaranteed to be exactly what I need. After all, who knows better than me what that is?
Make no mistakes, I am NOT happy about my status as a yoga orphan but since I have no choice in the matter I need to make the best of it.
Are you there God? it's me, Mirella...... I surrender....... I'm accepting this new adventure..... Not my will but thy will be done!!