I've recently started my own 30-day challenge, inspired by so many students and fellow yogis who make the incredible commitment to deepen their practice and build the habit of yoga into their daily lives. It's so inspirational, especially given how early in the morning many show up for practice!
So far I've completed six days - carving out the space wherever I can - and I'm amazed by how quick and lucid the memory is, in my body, mind and heart, of why I chose yoga - or it chose me - or whatever; but most importantly why we keep coming together.
As a teacher, your personal practice can shift dramatically; instructing becomes a part of "living your yoga," but it can get harder to find time to squeeze in your asana practice. But no regrets. Not a single one. Teaching has deepened my connection with myself, my community and the world over the last six years in ways so rich that I can barely fathom some of the old poverties of being and relating; choosing a new, exciting, scary path rather than staying on an old, "safe" track which no longer nourished me, has taught me so much about taking risks and trusting in self and Universe; Great Mystery.
In many ways it brought even more up and close with yoga. Striving to align with yogic principles off the mat and out of the studio has been an ongoing passion and reality check - but walking the walk, I've come to realize, also means continuing to feed my mat practice. Even if it feels like there isn't time.
Every part of me needs it. And so does our world. By filling myself up first, spiritually speaking, I have so much more to offer; when we are full, we can nourish our relationships and our planet.
Getting too far away from asana practice makes me forget the feelings of exhilaration, space, freedom, peace, seamless and fully embodied ok-ness that my mat time manifests; not to mention, it puts me out-of-touch when teaching and gives me a bad case of asana envy.
When I get back to my mat, I remember. And I pick up the practice where I left off; life is a slipping in and out of yoga (Divine Union) and the space I carve out for mat practice always helps me to stay longer, slip less, keep committing.
Not every day can be a bad-ass Power Flow practice. There is a time for the tapas and samskara-burning heat of a challenging and transformative yang practice. And there is a time for stillness, and the healing, quiet waters of yin and meditative practices. The doing and the non-doing, the being and becoming. The evolution and involution. It's now and never-ending.
I love my mat more than ever - probably because it's collected everything from sweat and tears to nasal drip and dust. Such love is sacred and yields such abundant beauty but it is a relationship and an investment that, like any bond between two people, requires effort, work, time and, of course, love. Never stop giving to your practice and you will never stop receiving. Aum.