Tag Archives: practice

Yoga Selfies and a Brand New Mat :)

Four days of yoga this past week, everyone! Proud of myself for getting on my mat/to class that many times in spite of my crazy busy week. I will be going to a hot class tonight, which will bring my total days to 10! 1/10th of the way there 🙂

Last week I bought a Manduka PRO mat and this Yogitoes mat from my studio last week and I am in LOVE. This mat is AWESOME and I am so glad I made this investment. I can definitely tell the difference from my last mat. I find myself pulling it out to practice at all random times of the day. I don’t think a $100 mat is at all necessary for a valid yoga practice, but I can certainly say that this mat has drastically improved my practice and my attitude towards my home practice.

Yesterday I took my new mat outside for some nature yoga with my yogi-photographer boyfriend. I love taking yoga photos outside, maybe a little too much. Anyway, I managed a pose I’ve been working on unsuccessfully for a few weeks now:

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and I was kind of shocked at how easy it looked. This pose was (and is) extremely challenging for me, but for all you know from the picture I could have stayed in this position all day. This is, to me, a part of the beauty of asana: the ability to find stillness and grace in the face of challenges. However, it is also arguably a source of frustration in our practice, especially today with the ever-growing presence of yoga selfies.

I’ll be honest, my instagram is full of photos of various poses I’ve been working on. I love sharing my practice with other practitioners online. I love the IG yoga community and I don’t plan on removing myself from that any time soon. But how many times have you looked at someone’s “yoga selfie” on instagram, thought it looked easy and then attempted it only to find out you don’t have half the strength required to perform it? My guess is more than a few. I know it happens to me almost daily, because I am a sucker for #stopdropandyoga-ing any time I scroll past a pose I’ve never seen before. I honestly think joining the community has done me the most benefit, because now I know that the yoga has a way of making itself look easy regardless of how hard our bodies are working. Consistently taking photos of my own practice reminds me that behind every successful asana is practice, sometimes years of it.

"Practice and All is Coming" - Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

“Practice and All is Coming” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


Yoga Beyond Asana

I have done yoga a grand total of twice since my last post (That’s day 4 and 5, people). Not even close to my “daily practice” I was talking about last Wednesday. Life happens. Some people have the time in their day (or the discipline to make the time in their day) to squeeze yoga in between all their other obligations. Perhaps yoga is not high enough on my priority list (trust me, it is) and other people are more passionate about their practice than I am, but I don’t think that’s it. I think that I am a full-time college student and a part-time worker, and the part-time typically manifests itself as three full days of work on my three days off of school, not to mention I have to take care of (feed, clean up after, etc.) my wonderful dog (and my wonderful boyfriend).

I know I say I’m busy a lot. I think part of me wants to justify my lack of asana practice to myself because I follow so many wonderful people who find the time to practice every day, and I have a hard time not letting their “successful” practice affect my perception of mine. But I KNOW that’s not how it should be. My practice is mine. Practicing asana only four times in a week doesn’t make me a better or worse yogi than anyone else. Asana is only one small piece of what yoga is. I talk about my asana practice online, I post pictures of my advancement through asanas online, but that is only one segment of my yoga journey. The rest is personal, things I don’t think or want to consistently publish online. I just wish I could separate success in asana from success in yoga, because that’s not what it’s about. Maybe I’ll never gain a huge following because I can’t put my foot behind my head or do a handstand. My yoga is still just as valid as anyone’s.

Like I said, I think part of me is justifying my lack of asana practice recently. I am excited for the day I accept that I do asana when I can (and trust me, I love my practice. I rarely ‘skip’ practice simply because I ‘don’t feel like it’) and realize that yoga extends far beyond how many downward dogs I fit in a week.


The Journey is the Goal

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I am literally addicted to arm balances. As I practice primarily Ashtanga and I am lucky if I get a full 90 minutes of practice time every day, I don’t have a lot of time to practice arm balances (like Eka Pada Koudinyasana, my new favorite pose! (above)). I typically do them in passing during the day, just to see “if I can.” Sometimes I fall flat on my face. But other times my balance and strength come together in just the right way and I find myself successfully keeping my feet off the ground and it feels like flying. Sometimes I don’t even feel how hard my arms are working to keep myself there; there is just bliss.

And then I fall. And then I spread out on my mat and try to calm my breath. And then, when I try the pose again, my arms buckle under my weight. But the next day, I get up and do it again. And again, the next day. And I find myself in balance just a little bit longer. Each asana is just a little bit easier. While I would love to be able to instantly find myself in each pose I scroll past on Instagram, I am grateful that it takes a lot of time and effort to find myself in “challenging” asanas for even a short time. I appreciate that I have to work toward improving myself, and I appreciate that success does not come easy. Because I love this journey I have found myself taking. The journey of Ashtanga yoga, the journey of figuring out who I am and what I am meant to do to be the best version of myself.

I hope that I never find myself at my destination. I hope I am always striving for improvement. I hope I never think of myself as having “finished” yoga. We are never finished with yoga, just as we are never finished making ourselves our most awesome possible selves.

The goal is not the goal. The journey is the goal.