This morning didn’t go quite as planned. Nothing major, just a series of small computer frustrations added to reading the morning news and writing that wasn’t going well. So, I stopped. I stopped trying to make this newsletter format properly. I stopped reading the news. I stopped trying to make the morning go the way I wanted it to. And I went for a walk. Came back, wrote my Morning Pages* which I had skipped to get the newsletter out first thing today, and here I am ready to go.
It’s a good reminder about what yoga is and is not. Yes, most of us come to yoga through a class or, in my case, a book, or more and more often a series of classes on YouTube. Yes, most of us learn yoga through the physical aspect. But today was a reminder that over time the true power of yoga, while learned in the class and through the postures, comes from bringing yoga off the mat and into our lives.
I practiced yoga today when I walked away from the frustration. Instead of looking at the beautiful April day outside my window, I got up and went out into it. That’s practicing yoga. When I stopped being frustrated at the inanimate object that is the focus of so much or our lives right now and did something for my mind, body, and spirit, I was practicing yoga. Stopping when we can, remembering to breathe when we can’t, that’s practicing yoga.
This week, I’ve been writing about strength and advocating that strength can be gentle not merely forceful. And today reminds me that stubbornly persisting to get something done has its place – it’s what got me through law school after all – but it’s certainly not the only way, maybe not even the best way to get things done. Today, I remembered to be gentle with myself. Tomorrow, I’ll probably need to be reminded again. This is strength. This is the practice of yoga.
Today, ask yourself how you practice yoga. Here’s your gentle call to the practice.
*Morning Pages: In case you are unfamiliar with this practice – “Put simply Morning Pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream of consciousness…” done first thing in the morning. I have started my day with Morning Pages on and off since I first read Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity in 2003. I learned about her book at a yoga retreat. I’ve practiced Morning Pages continuously since the fall of 2011 when I decided if I was going to apply for the position of VPSA at UT Austin, I needed to have a strong grounding practice. 🙂 I was right and it helped. Morning Pages aren’t a panacea, but they are definitely an essential part of my practicing yoga.