I am currently nursing along a little baby yoga streak. As of today, it’s 18 days old. (It could have been 23 days old except that on Day 5, I skipped a day and had to start over, according to The (My) Rules.)
I am going up to my home yoga room every day and practicing on my own. On Mondays I use Yoganand’s Meditative Posture Flow CD and on Fridays I go to the studio and do Yoganand’s Yoga Workout CD. Last week Fred and Timbo joined me for that sweat-fest.
On all the other days, I am alone with my own body, my own needs, my own thoughts. I spend a lot of time doing pranayam, and the postures I do are determined by what my body is calling for, or needs, on that particular day.
This is precisely how yoga started for me many years ago. No teacher. No class. Just a book and a beach towel. And I learned so much. I am remembering all those old lessons: how to be alone; how to listen inside; how to watch my mind; how to push beyond (perceived) limits within myself with no teacher making or urging me to make a bigger effort. I am learning to pull this effort out of myself. Again.
I think in the best of all worlds, it would be ideal to have a class to go to once a week (or more) but a class should only bolster a strong private home practice.
The home practice is the holy one, the inviolate one, the sacred one. The teacher-led class should feed the home practice, boost it, inspire it, give it fresh insight, new ways of working, but not substitute for it.
The student should use the teacher as a resource, as someone to ask questions about issues that come up in the home practice, or to get advice, or insights, or tips.
The teacher should know which of her students are working daily, at home, and what is going on for those students at home.
I have a wonderful and inspiring teacher, but I do not see him regularly. I wish I had a teacher close by to discuss my home practice with sometimes. I would talk to that teacher about how I am trying to open up my low back and get loose and relieve that pain that’s been plaguing me.
I would talk to that teacher about my hips and the best ways to open them, and how I am trying to deepen my back bends and stretch out my quads with little luck. I would talk to that teacher about how I am using the stretchy band to open up the front of my chest so I can revolve properly in upavista when I stretch out over one leg. It would be good to get some insights and tips about this stuff.
Instead, I will have to trust the wisdom of the body.
My current streak is only a measly 18 days old, but already I am starting to wonder: Who I will be when this streak reaches 180 days, or even 1800 days?
Yeah. Imagine that: Eighteen hundred days. That’s almost 5 years. Think I can keep this streak going that long?
We shall see.