What is a regular practice to you?
Sat Nam Yogis and Yoginis,
I’ve been thinking a lot about what has prevented me from a regular practice in the past, I have over the past 16 years found myself in various phases of yoga.
Initially, when I was introduced to yoga in my corporate environment I went twice a week and never missed a class.
I worked for a German bank in the City of London and they really knew how to treat their staff well in order to get the best out of us, we had free lunches, big bonuses and various ‘extra murals’ included. These extras were as diverse as spanish lessons to keep fit classes and of course, my favourite, yoga.
That hour in the church attic across the street from my office was my first taste of yoga and the beginning of a love affair that has never ended. I had two amazing Sivananda Teachers who introduced me to this world where finally I didn’t need to be athletic and my hypermobility was an asset. They ever so gently encouraged meditation practice and guided me to the Ashram in Putney where I was introduced to SATTVA cooking, meditation and advanced asana workshops. I loved the peacefulness of that Ashram and calmness that came with it. When for the first time in my life (in my mid twenties) I learnt that I wasn’t a complete clutz and that I could indeed stand on my head – unassisted – I knew that I’d found my path.
When I changed jobs, I no longer got free lunches or lunchtime yoga. I tried yoga at various gyms in the area but none felt quite right. Then Bikram yoga came to London. The first studio was in Kentish Town which was fiendishly difficult for me to get to. But I loved Bikram. I used to take sick days off work simply to go to yoga classes and I maintain that a day off to indulge in yoga was definitely a form of healing. Especially in the craziness of London.
It was impossible to maintain a regular practice – logistically. Bikram was a challenging set of 26 postures performed in a heated room and could therefore only be done at a studio. The one and only studio in London at the time.
My practice waned and even when a studio opened up just a few blocks from home I never did get back into a regular routine. Over the years my practice continued sporadically. Even after my Sivananda teacher training I never really managed to get into a routine of my own personal practice and I just couldn’t figure out what was holding me back.
Then along came Kundalini yoga.
Yogi Bhajan describes Kundalini as the householders yoga. It is designed in such a way that it incorporates the 8 limbs of yoga formatted so anyone can do it. You can have a job and come home, cook dinner for your family and do a kriya. Or even better, wake up early and do a kriya before your family awaken. It is accessible and it is amazing.
Yogi Bhajan says that no one wants to wake up early and get out their warm beds and practice yoga. He understood that we prefer to be warm and snuggly and wake up slowly, perhaps with a coffee?
Yet the simple action of arriving at your mat is the very first step to a regular practice. It is a gift from you to you. No one can force you to be there, it is something you do for yourself and the benefits are limitless. Infinite.
I know why I have maintained a regular Kundalini practice and that is because it feels good. Isn’t that what we are all searching for, constantly, the quest for happiness? To feel good? I know that for me, it feels better to get up and do yoga than it does to lie in bed. Nothing beats it.
Perhaps Kundalini isn’t your yoga of choice, I know that I’ve tried a few styles and this is where I arrived. Whatever your yoga of choice just find the time to get on the mat, take a deep breath and feel how good it feels to feel how you’re feeling.