Do you ever forget why you’re doing something? I don’t mean why you went into the kitchen, I mean something big like why you work or why you had kids. Yesterday, I actually forgot why I practice yoga. Yes, I’m a yoga teacher and I forgot why I do it. Perhaps forget is the wrong word. I just got really confused and started to question my intentions.
When a class is really challenging, I think, “this is good, I’m being squeezed, I’m growing.” When a class is really reflective I think, “this is good, I’m paying attention, I’m connecting to myself.” Where is the confusion? Which one of these should I be focusing on? Challenging myself, busting through limitations and discovering what I am capable of or being still, taking pleasure in the experience of being in my body and becoming aware of each and every micro-sensation?
The answer is, of course, both. Knowing which one to do when is wisdom. Doing both at the same time is mastery. How ironic that I experienced this confusion in the midst of teaching the 2 fundamental reasons to practice yoga: Remembrance and Celebration. The challenging practice and the reflective practice are both about remembering who I am. The challenging practice and the reflective practice are both about celebrating who I am and celebrating experiencing life through this body. I practice to remember. I practice to celebrate. My practice will not always have the same feel, intensity, focus or effect, but it will always be valuable.
Here are 2 reflective practices and 2 celebratory practices that you can try:
Reflective #1) Do any pose. Instead of focusing on doing it “right”, just breathe and feel your body.
Reflective #2) Sit on the floor with your legs spread wide. You might want to sit on a blanket or two if you feel slouched. Using a chair seat, an ottoman, a stack of pillows or anything that comes up to the right height, lean forward and rest your forehead. Stay for a while and notice anything that comes up.
Celebratory #1) Do any backbend. Smile.
Celebratory #2) The next time you take a yoga class or do anything physical, say, “Wow, it’s pretty amazing that I have this body and can do this sh*t”. Then enjoy said sh*t.
Our work in this life is not to find the perfect mate, raise perfect children, get the perfect job, and go on perfect vacations. Our task is to remember Who we are. ~Helen D. Vandeman
Do you have a reflective or celebratory practice you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it in the comments.
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