PS/ Addendum to the article: After writing this blog, I napped some more, and rested some more, and then my best friend and favorite yogi partner ever came over to show me her sequence for the week, and I end up practicing a little bit anyways. It’s yoga– I can’t stay away ❤

This morning, I woke up feeling sick. I had plans to practice at Moksha in the morning with my partner before he went to work. Headache, stomach ache. Dizziness. Gratitude that today is my day off. Postponed plans to practice until 5:45 tonight under the masterful tutelage of the beautiful Anna C.

My journey with yoga, way back when we first met, was how yoga inspired me to listen to the needs of my own body. To hear what my body was saying, and instead of brushing it aside, engaging in a conversation with it. Asking it questions. Giving it time to formulate answers.

So how did I practice yoga today? In the sense of physical asana, I didn’t really. I didn’t go to a class. I didn’t leave the house. But it was nice to take my home practice in a way that really responded to the needs of my body. So important to the success of the rigorous asana practice is the rehabilitative yin, surrender of yoga. The mindset that I take on when I enter the studio or step on to my mat is one of conscious mindfulness. The mindset, I think more than the actual movements, defines my yoga experience for me.

Today was about mindset. What did my body want? To sit. To sleep. To count mala beads and the length of my inhales and exhales. To rest. To sit. To sleep. The recount the mala beads, for my fingers to make their way back to the guru bead again and again. My mind wanted to practice. The stubborn, goal-ridden part of my brain ridicules today as a failure. The intelligent part of my brain that is able to separate itself from my ego is all like, giiiiirl, please. Stay in bed. Today, this will be the yoga. Breath work, meditation and stillness are absolutely yoga.

I got out of bed long enough to step outside and feel the cold air snapping some sense back into my sleepy, foggy brain. Took this picture of a pose that helps me to feel grounded, stable, and expansive. Today, this pose speaks to me as a place where I can keep my head above my heart, where I can breathe freely and hugely into an open chest, where I can find playfulness through the motions of my upper body as it responds to its environment, and steadiness and stability through the lower body which roots itself firmly. Sweatpants-asana.

image

 

Reflections of day 19

Until last night, the 100 days of yoga hadn’t meant much to me. In fact, until last night, I haven’t had to change my routine at all. I usually practice every day. This year I have had so much fun exploring different studios and practicing under the tutelage of unfamiliar teachers and styles. During the first twenty days I enjoyed instruction in vinyasa, c-yoga and Acro yoga at Urban Lotus, Nature Yoga, Moksha, Corepower and Yoga Lab. I’ve been lucky to have friends to practice alongside most days and to find the stillness and motivation within myself on the days when I am alone. I knew there would be days that I wouldnt feel like practicing, but I hadn’t had one of them yet.

Until last night. My roommate and I are lounging in the living room binge watching the last episode of Season Two of House of Cards. I had a 14 hour day, including working a 9-5 and teaching a class immediately before and after my day job. I taught both of the classes I would have usually taken. It’s 8:00pm. I just missed HPF. My last chance is the 9:15pm C2 at Lincoln Park (thank god for late classes). I am watching the time tick-tock by. I contemplate practicing at home, but know that I will half -ass everything until House of Cards is over. I teach again at 6am. I really just want to have a beer and fall asleep on the couch.

Instead, my roommate and I decide to go to yoga. Although I didn’t mention my motivation to her, and she didn’t question it since I practice daily, the only reason I think I got myself off the couch last night was because I didn’t want to bail on a commitment that I made to myself-not so early on in the game, not without a better reason. I told myself that inhad full permission to lounge. That I could take it easy with the physical asana and focus on my breath and creating a meditative mindset with which to end my night.

So, I end up practicing. As soon as I gave myself permission to take it easy, to acknowledge that I was tired, that I didn’t have to have the most physically impressive practice of my life, it became delicious. As soon as I walked into the studio and started listening to the lovely Emily A guide me through practice, I started wanting to practice. I ended up having a very good practice. My breath was long and deep and my physical asana attentive and strong. I felt so good. I cannot believe that I might have missed such a beautiful practice.

 

Thanks, hundred days of yoga.

-halle