I love Sunday. I make it my Day of Rest. I am loath to rush into a Sunday; I like to stretch out my toes under the duvet and snuggle my dog until we are too hungry to stay in bed any longer. I love the sense of the day unfurling in the same lazy way as I am.
I work on a Sunday morning, and (like most people) leave a lot of the housework and planning for the week ahead for some point later in the day. But every Sunday I have a definite, dedicated two hours in the afternoon to practise – and outside of practising class sequences and teaching preparation, it might be the only practice I do all week.
The beginner’s mind
As a result of becoming a teacher, it can be hard sometimes to approach asana with a beginner’s mind; often I will start moving and think, “This is good, how should I teach this?” And very soon I am constructing a pedagogy of poses rather than practising presence.
So on Sundays there is no plan. I come to my mat playfully, prayerfully, full of hunger and thirst for the thing that I love most: that which nourishes and sustains me.
During this time my body and my mat might conspire to reveal my most creative, graceful Vinyasas; smooth, sensual, sexy flows of movement that carry me from pose to pose on a tide of soft Ocean Breath. There are glorious moments of surprise when I “accidentally” float from Down Dog to Crow to Headstand and back again, or do a slow, confident drop back into Little Thunderbolt – things I could never do in a class with others and would hesitate to teach.
Yoga practice, not yoga perfect
This is also the time when I am happiest and most confident to fail – to fart, fall over and say “f*** it.” I can leave my mat for comfort breaks if I need to, or fetch props, or just to re-calibrate for a second: things that would break the flow of a taught class. Even the freedom for a mundane pause can be replenishing – it’s yoga practice, not yoga perfect.
The wisdom of the body
Other days are different. The co-conspiracy of mat, body and breath have plans for me other than any “advanced” flow. Sometimes I have all this desire to move and jump and my body says, “Come this way: Oh – and bring a pillow.” And I find myself in a supported Upavistha Konasana (Wide legged forward fold) for five minutes or more. Sometimes what I am lead through is a series of seemingly disjointed poses that I would never chose to put together for a class sequence, but are exactly what I need. My attitude shifts to one of slowing down for quiet, somatic exploration; how are my bones arranged, are my joints stacked, where and how am I unconsciously compensating through this move?
Illuminating the internal world
In both styles of practice I am broken open. My internal world illuminated by the light of my willing, curious attention. I become aware of all the things in the week that have stuck – whether it was a compliment or something that annoyed me, or something physical like a rotator cuff niggle or SI pain. I make a welcome space for whatever is there to stay as long as it needs. I honour the broken parts of myself that yearn for grace, and the strength I develop in doing so.
I love the quote by Rumi:
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you love, it will never led you astray.
I hope you too can be quietly seduced by whatever makes your body and soul sing.
Recommended class for EkhartYoga members
Self practice – join Lisa as she guides you through her thoughts, feelings and sensations in a personal practice. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how a mature teacher decides what to do, how to do it and where to go next – all levels, Hatha / Vinyasa, 60 mins
About the author
Becky trained with EkhartYoga and is a yoga teacher and complementary therapist working in the Welsh capital, Cardiff, where she lives with her dog. She tries not to take herself too seriously as a teacher and encourages her students to approach yoga with a similar, playful, childlike curiosity.
She is fascinated by anatomy and biomechanics, and also by the experience of the Living Body: the weave of mind-body-breath from within which we perceive and experience reality. Out of this love of explorative movement she is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Dance and Somatic Wellbeing.
To find out more about her, visit Becky Boo Yoga on Facebook