“You need a home practice to keep your strength, your sanity and your creativity flowing! (…) it’s at home where you evolve and can take your practice to the next level.”
Rachel Brathen @yoga_girl
Living in Miami and staying “zen” can be a challenging task. It involves driving, a lot of driving. Consequently traffic becomes part of your day, and in my case, your car can become your second home. Literally, I carry in my backpack yoga and casual clothes, toiletries, my laptop, ipad, flipflops, sandals, makeup and the list goes on. I also go around sometimes with my nutribullet, fruits and greens so I can make my green smoothies before or after classes. All this rush makes it harder to create a sort of routine or commit to a regular practice.
While I was abroad, the studios where I worked were pretty much my second home. I spent most of my days there, teaching and practicing. I spent my time there sharing with the students and staff. In Cambridge, I was creative with the food and smoothies. I sold green smoothies during the weekend, prepared the chai tea we served in the studio and as I stayed in the houses of amazing foodies, I also got creative in their kitchens. I was in great physical shape because in this studio there were also other types of yoga and TRX strength training, which was great. In Indonesia, it was all about love and happiness and committing to practice a 30 days challenge with the rest of the students. In this studio, the community life was great. Students and teachers shared their time in the students like a family. April was the month of the 30 days challenge, which implies doing 30 classes of Bikram Yoga in 30 days. Classes were packed! Some students did two classes a day to make up the days they missed, and even some others finished earlier! I myself finished 31 classes in 30 days despite a little accident I had and I cut my hand reeeally badly around day 26. I kept getting myself into the hot room and did what I could, but finished my challenge!
Now in Miami, the rushing around town living my life, teaching in different places and trying to stay active with my yoga makes it harder. I’m extremely happy that I have sadhanas in the early mornings and every time I succeed to wake up, it makes my day better. The meditation and energy created here helps a lot. However, practicing Bikram Yoga, and now that I started to practice ashtanga can be a challenge in this busy life.
There’s an excellent article written by Rachel Brathen, the beautiful and famous @yoga_girl, on how to be the best yoga teacher you could ever be. I try to read it every other month to remind these tips that I find amazing. One of them is about home practice. In my personal experience, home practice is one of the hardest things to do. Why? First, it’s really hard for me to get to the mat when I’m home. I always find an excuse to do something else, mainly cooking in the kitchen vegan/gluten free and plant based/healthy dishes, spending time with my loved ones or being distracted on the entire social media craze. Then, I get to the mat and I’m at first confused on what to do. However, after about 5 minutes of warming up doing sun salutations, I get synched with my body and start listening to it and my practice starts flowing. I just know what’s right for it. Even though it’s hard for me to get to the mat, I always finish happy I made it.
Two days ago I knew I was going to have a busy day. Therefore I committed to practice at home in the morning. It was quick, not too intense, but helped. Makes me realize how important it is to connect with your body on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be intense or mellow all the time. In my opinion, just like your body, it’s supposed to be different and change depending on your state. Even when you do the same postures over and over again, you and your body all not the same all the time and the practice changes.
Yesterday, I did make it to ashtanga. I had a great teacher who helped with my allignments and guided the group so nicely. I struggle a lot in this practice, but I love it. My body needs it. What I’m learning is that it is all about finding balance and listening to your body. Not to your mind. It will take time, patience and practice. Consistency is one of the keys in my opinion.
Today I did wake up to my early sadhana which was followed by a delicious Chinese tea and mangoes (yumm). I wanted to do my home practice, which ended up being a fitness one. Stair climbing in the emergency stairs of the building where I live and squats. My class this morning flowed and it was strong, yet calmed. One of my students made my day when she shared with me that a month ago she took her first class, and finally today she could do the camel pose in my class. Her smile and her eyes glowing of excitement made me so happy and reminded the reason why I chose to teach this for a living. I do it for them, not for me.
The journey within is way more difficult. It takes a lot of introspection and trying different things to find out what works for each person. Finding balance can be a life long task. However, the more we think on how hard it can be, he less time we’ll have to actually do it.
So my conclusion today from the last few days comes down to this: no matter when the path gets easier or more difficult, keep going. Answers will come when the time is right. Stop thinking on how easy or hard it can get but instead just do it, the best you can.