I’ve been a member of a large yoga studio for many years, but up till 2014 I had never cultivated an asana practice at home. I was more or less satisfied with the level of proficiency I’d reached, yet I felt a sense of stagnation. Something inside started asking questions about whether I could take my practice to the next level, or maybe even take a stab at teaching, since it is a dear wish of mine to share the wisdom and spread the peace that I found.
Of all things, I turned to Instagram.
I’d read that habits take 27-30 days to form, and wanted to see if it would work for developing a daily home practice. To make a long story short, I’ve followed a monthly challenge (each challenge has a theme around which daily poses revolve or build up towards, and participants share their asana work via photos) for every single month this year. By March, I was doing not only the daily pose, but trying to work out mini sequences to lead up to the harder challenge poses, as well as making time each day to work on especially tight areas like the hips and shoulders.
Not only have I ended up with a home practice and better body awareness – I learnt a number of things on the way.
Stepping out of my comfort zone on many occasions, I got to explore a variety of asanas (safely, with research!) I’d never tried, nor never dreamt of trying due to fear and pessimistic expectations. The best breakthroughs I’ve had were when I least expected them. Having a consistent practice also helped me deepen some of the poses I was already familiar with, and really drove home Pattabhi Jois’ “Practice and all is coming” advice.
I’ve also acknowledged the fact that there are good days and bad days for everyone. This has nothing to do with strength or experience – bad days happened when I was distracted or fatigued and just couldn’t concentrate enough to do the same thing I managed with little effort the week before. But you know what? Every day is different, every day the body is different, and every day we can start anew. Having an off day doesn’t make me a bad person, it just means I do a modified pose, or take a rest. Sitting quietly and breathing is also yoga. I learnt to be patient and forgiving with myself, and am also trying to apply this with other people.
Prior to this year, I’d never shared any yoga-related photos on such a public and extremely visual platform. I was very hesitant because of the reputation that Instagram yogis get. But then some close friends who had seen photos during the first couple of months told me that they actually felt inspired (whether by my shameless posing in ways they could not, or by my daily persistence and transformation) – and that is the best gift I could ever receive from yoga practice.
~~Jasmin [200hr TTC Sep 2014]