The brilliance in practicing by our self, is that it can simply begin by being mindful of our breathing. Take a moment right now, and notice your inhale and exhale…
This alone, is a good start to cultivating a regular solo practice. By paying attention to our breathing, we are automatically becoming aware of how we are at that moment. The breath is an instant reminder of our internal state. When we give our breath more care and observation, we are giving ourselves a gentle reminder to look out for our betterment on many different levels.
With the pace of our culture, many find it difficult to make time to practice at home or outside of class. Yet, what we can do is accumulate minutes of practice during the day. What do we do after sitting in a chair for a few hours? Usually we get up and stretch a bit, yes? So, this takes about half a minute. What if we added one or two more stretches to that? And then did a couple of sets of those three things? That might be about 5 minutes of practice right there. Add some conscious breathing to those movements and then you’ll find that you just gave yourself a nice lesson in yoga.
When we are ready to practice more thoroughly by ourselves, it is best to find a space that we love to move in. I currently live in a small studio apartment, but have left ample space on the floor to practice. I also love to practice tai chi. Practicing tai chi takes a little more space than what I have in my studio, yet I modify my practice and do movements that “fit” in my space. Luckily, next door to my building there is an abandoned embassy that has a large parking lot, and a wrap around porch that also I use for solo practice from time to time.
Speaking of time, that is usually the main excuse for not practicing. I hear often, “I just don’t have the time.” I catch myself saying this too, and then quickly correct myself and say “I just don’t make the time.” Making the time can be the difference between a good day a fantastic day.
By solo practice, we can learn the most about ourselves, and this is one of the wonderful gifts of yoga. We don’t have to do ten sun salutations every time. We don’t have to stand on our head every time either. We can do whatever we want, and in the process make beautiful self discoveries through awareness based movement. This can be done by just taking the time to sit, be, move, breathe, feel and observe our thoughts. It is that easy. This can be a subtle, and at the same time, powerful way to look deeper into the many layers of who we are as a human being.
(originally from February 2004)
Copyright © 2010 Silk Road Yoga
All Rights Reserved – This material is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the express written permission of the author.
– – –