I LOVE my home practice. I practice at home about one to two times a week, and it is such a nice change of pace from my yoga shala practice, which I do about four to five times a week. Sometimes in my home practice I just do plain old full Primary like I do at the shala, yet the feeling of it is different because I’m better able to tune into the sensations in my body and breath. Sometimes I do fun little sequences that I have made up for myself. If I’ve been feeling a little tight or closed off in the chest, I’ll do a series to open up my chest and shoulders and to invite deep breathing and relaxation. If I’ve been overworking my legs and hips in Primary Series, I’ll do a practice full of hip openers and hamstring stretches. And sometimes, even if I’ve practiced all week, I’ll do a little restorative session on Sunday just because it feels so good!
I really love that I’ve gotten to a place where I have both the confidence and the discipline to create a practice for myself and follow through with it. I like the balance I find in practicing 70-80% traditional Ashtanga and 20-30% self-styled flow yoga. I still feel connected to a rigorous yoga tradition, yet I have the freedom to listen to my body, to listen to my heart, and give myself what I need. “Listening to my body” can be used as a cop-out, as one of my teachers has explained, and I agree that it can indeed. But I would continue on to say that if one sincerely practices the discipline of listening to one’s body, in the context of a firm grounding in yoga practices and philosophy, one can truly take their yoga to a deeper level. Instead of relying on someone else to tell me, to give me, what is good for me, I myself must do the honest work of finding out what is truly good for me and I myself must create a way of bringing that into my life.