It was early one morning, before the sun had come up. Before the studio hadn’t even opened for the day.
One of my own teachers, who had influenced me greatly, was in town doing a week-long early morning immersion series. We had a good group signed up, all committed to their 6:00am start time.
As I was preparing the studio for our students, I happened to look through the window in the practice room. She was there, moving through her practice. And the entire time, she never went fully into a pose or even fully straightened her legs. It was a captivating sight, as if the flow was moving this person through each transition without stopping from one asana to the next.
This was a teacher who could do incredible things in her practice. Her poses were strong, beautifully aligned and peaceful. And here, she chose to keep everything loose so she could experience each pose differently.
That moment marked me as a yoga practitioner and as a teacher. It allowed me to see yoga as more than just poses. It could be whatever I needed it to be. Soft or hard. Fluid or detailed.
My own practice has evolved in ways I am so grateful for over the years. It started as a path to healing when I was injured, then turned into a reliable technique for stress relief. It then became my approach to fitness and an outlet for my creativity. I’ve incorporated diverse philosophies and lessons from nature into my practice. It’s become my living philosophy. It was lifeline of movement, community and sanity in the depths of the pandemic. Now it’s a playful experiment in how to stay vibrant and healthy, and maintain balance in life.
Yoga has always been different things to different people. Two thousand five hundred years ago, classical writings like the Bhagavad Gita spoke of “the yoga of action,” “the yoga of study” or “the yoga of devotion.” Whatever we need in our lives, there is an approach to yoga that can be part of that. Physical, philosophical, healing or just because you want to have fun and sweat!
So, allow yourself to flow with your practice, whatever that may look like. It’ll always be there for you.