Asana at Home

Photo by Michele Venne

Since I haven’t been in a place, physically, where I could again take up an asana practice, I’ve been thinking about why I miss it. In the studio classes I attended, I could just follow along with the instructor, much like a Simon Says game. I didn’t have to think about which pose I was going to move into next, I only had to pay attention to my body parts so I didn’t overdo when I was still healing. It was 90 minutes out of my day when I didn’t feel responsible for coming up with the next thing to do.

There’s peace in that realization; to be somewhere, or with someone, where you can begin to notice the moments of emptiness between your thoughts. When the mind slows down, the stress has a chance to evaporate from the body, and the systems can reset themselves. Always thinking about what to do, or always engaged in work, or consumed by thoughts (especially unhelpful ones), or partaking in consuming something that may not be for our betterment takes a toll.

But since I can’t attend a class in the studio, I can tune in to the classes being posted online. It’s not the same, but it’s close. I can interrupt the swirl of my thoughts. I can move my body. I can take a time out from whatever busyness (or worry or chaos or …) consumes my day. And I can ground myself in the present moment, take a breath (or several), and approach life’s tasks with a clearer mind (which allows for more creative thinking and problem solving) and renewed energy.

Do I talk as if yoga is a life saver? It might be. How do you know if it could have a positive effect on you? Try it for a week, or two weeks, or a month. One class a day. Start with a restorative or gentle yoga class. Maybe move on to a basics class or a level 1-2. Maybe follow along in a mediation class. No, your mind will not be completely empty of thoughts, but you begin to notice them, and that’s the big step for what comes next.

Notice how you’re sleeping, how you might respond to an uncomfortable situation, how your body feels. Awareness, like the first blossoms of spring, is a sign that renewal is possible.