Updated: May 15
Sometimes people think that because I’ve been practicing yoga for over 30 years and teaching for 12 years - my home practice has to be ‘advanced’ yoga poses and with long, daily practice. In fact, my yoga practice has changed over the years and with my age - from loving energetic Ashtanga yoga style to embodied mindful yoga and meditation.
Now that I am 49 and going through the peri-menopause phase, my body needs different things than when I was younger. Yoga for me was never about physical, aesthetic achievements, but more about getting to a space where I feel good and balanced in my body and mind. If you ever have practiced yoga with me in a group setting, you would know that my way of teaching is a collaboration of various styles that incorporates a number of different yoga elements, both traditional and modern. But when it comes to my self-practice, it is simple. For years, on many days I was simply rolling out my mat and sitting or lying down with some intuitive somatic movement, and meditation. Some time ago, I went back to a more traditional approach – working on a one-to-one basis with a yoga mentor/senior teacher, who guides my personalized, home practice. The asana - posture/movement part of my practice is still focused on feeling grounded, stable, and allowing my body to move comfortably with the breath. It takes me about 20-30 minutes a day and consists of around 10 yoga poses (breath-led movements and holds), simple mantra chants, and meditation.
I am also engaged in long-term study programs. One is studying yoga philosophy from two ancient yoga texts - Yoga Sutra and Hathayoga Pradipika. It gives context to my yoga practice and provides tools that expand the yoga state beyond the mat. Some philosophic yogic principles like Ahimsa (non-harming), being true to ourselves (Satya), moderation (Brahmacharya), contentment (Santosha), and non-greed (Aparigraha) are the base of a happy and balanced life. Living with these principles helps consciously recognise and shift unwanted habits and patterns.
The second program is the Yoga Therapy qualification. I would like to become skilled at addressing the health issues specific to each person and creating personalized yoga practices that meet these individual needs. Yoga Therapy’s goal is to get the best for people by limiting suffering and giving them the choice of replacing unwanted/not useful patterns, with new ones which serve them better. For me, learning yoga is not just gathering theory and practices here and there. It is a lifelong journey.
As meditation has always been my favourite yoga practice element, it brought me close to sound healing practices. The Immersive Sound Meditations I started to offer recently are a simple and very pleasant way to get into meditative states where one can develop greater self-awareness and touch on healing and transformation while listening to the sounds and frequencies of various instruments. After all, the magic of sound (mantra meditation) was what brought me to yoga in the first place years ago.
It is the highlight of my second spring (this is what the Chinese call the period of life when your family nest is empty...) and I am looking forward to finding joy in what comes next.
"We know that it is the search that gives meaning to any find and that one often has to travel a long way in order to arrive at what is near" - Jose Saramago, All the Names.