Tag Archives: yoga practice

QUICKLY: Five lessons I learned on my yoga mat last year.

5 Jan

 

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The start of a new year calls for new beginnings and retrospection. Without further ado: Five lessons I learned last year on my yoga mat.

1. LITTLE MOVEMENTS ARE SOMETIMES MORE IMPORTANT THAN BIG MOVEMENTS: Years ago, as a yoga newbie, I thought sweeping, large movements were the keys to yoga; the large muscular steps and upward sweeps that got me into any one of the Warrior asanas, or at the very least, left me drenched in sweat, the definition of “yoga.” Last year, I finally learned that the minute, imperceptible shifts in my muscular, skeletal, and indeed, emotional systems, put me on the inward path towards santosha — one of the Yoga nimayas, or joy — faster than any handstand or crow. A tiny outward rotation of my shoulder, my hip, even my hand, has taught me a lot about my yoga path. Don’t get me wrong, I love my crows and handstands, but a lot of insight is to be found in tiny movements.

2. THE ROOT OF IT ALL: You’ll tire fast of hearing your yoga teacher telling you to root through your heel, your index finger, the ball of your big toe. But until you are deeply rooted down to your mat, the Earth, you won’t be able to find expansion, spaciousness. And after all, we come to yoga…to our mats…to make space. To make room in our bodies – sometimes for new postures – sometimes for new attitudes.

3. SOMETIMES YOGA HAPPENS IN THE PARK: I used to be quite compulsive — maybe obsessed — with the need to get on my yoga mat every morning. Days were ruined if I was unable to spend at least 90 minutes on my mat. Last year, I learned that yoga sometimes just happens — sometimes it happens in the park with a lovely four-legged friend, or as I lift my arms up to inhale and fill my lungs with fresh morning air, winter’s sun rising weakly over the horizon. Yoga sometimes just happen during a walk. Yoga sages have said it best: the poses never end. It doesn’t matter where we are: yoga is happening. Right now.

4. STOP PEDDLING YOGA! I get it! I get it! I’m boring everyone with yoga. My daughters have threatened mutiny if I don’t stop talking about yoga. My friends feign interest, but eventually roll their eyes. OK. So not everyone is into yoga; not everyone is ready. I will be an ambassador and continue my unabashed love for this ancient science/art and just hope that all will come around to this great elixir. We should ban assault weapons. You don’t hear anyone saying we should ban yoga mats!

5. 1 PERCENT THEORY; 99 PERCENT PRACTICE: Sri K. Pattabhi Jois left all yogis with such a profound yoga lesson, it can be applied to all matters in life. Yoga is 1 percent theory, the rest is practice. I can talk about yoga ad nauseam. I can read copious amounts of articles and books; and I can watch all the inspiring videos from Kino McGregor and David Garrigues. But it is in the act of walking onto my mat, inhaling and exhaling mindfully and seeking presence with intention, that I begin to experience my practice of yoga.

(Ivey DeJesus is a yoga teacher, student and daily yoga practitioner who lives in York, Pa. She’s trying hard to talk about something other than yoga.)