I’ve been trying to put into words all that yoga is to me in a simple succinct sentence. This is today’s conclusion.
On some days, a yoga practice may feel difficult. On those days, remind yourself that yoga, like you, is a work in progress. That progress can be however you need it to be today.
I re-read this quote recently and was reminded of why I so wholeheartedly practice and teach yoga.
Yoga works the whole body at any one time. If you are not contracting muscles throughout the body to stabilise or move a particular part of the body, then your awareness is on how to relax the parts which are not needed in the pose or movement. You are always considering what the whole body is doing as you practice yoga.
An individual pose is always considered with reference to what you have been doing, the preparatory poses beforehand, or the work to come (whether that is on the mat or as you resume the rest of your day).
Your yoga practice is integrated into the rest of your life so that it restores when needed, balances as required, allows you to let go of tensions which are not necessary, and causes you to raise your awareness about all aspects of your life.
In this way, yoga positively affects the whole body, your mind, and your life.
I am very grateful to Lovely Husband for taking me to Galicia for Christmas. We had a really relaxing few days exploring the area. Our days were spent sharing some yoga (made all the better by the view of the sea), running (admittedly Ian managed to be motivated to do more of this than I did), eating the amazing array of locally grown vegetables, and exploring the local hills and villages.
It was a lovely time to focus on the simple things which make life pleasurable. This was helped very much by how simply Galicians spend their Christmas. For me, the Christmas period is a time to be with friends and loved ones and to take time out from the busy-ness of daily life to renew and restore energy levels and to take stock of life before the beginning of a new year.
It is alway easy to take on too much in life, to think some things matter perhaps more than they do. It is particularly easy before and at Christmas to try and do more than comfortably fits into life. When this attempt fails, the things which get dropped are often the most important ones: time with friends and family, time to keep physically and mentally fit, time to eat the foods your body needs to be truly well.
So I’m back to my normal life from today with new energy but also a reminder to keep life simple and keep time for all that really matters.
Happy Winter Solstice to you all. Take some time out today to appreciate the changing of the seasons. From tomorrow onwards the days will gradually stay light for a little longer each day.
May you all be able to spend this time this week with those you love, either in reality or in your thoughts. 🙏
Classes resume from Wednesday 27th. I look forward to seeing you again then.
My Foundation Course students were working with the sequence Salute to the Sun this month. Here is a useful aide-memoire for anyone who would like to practice this version of the sequence. This is the version taught by the Bihar School of Yoga.
Regulars in my classes will know how often I mention the need to maintain good foot stability and alignment in poses and as you move in daily life. Here is one of Leslie Kaminoff’s favourite quotes on the importance of the feet.