So it’s been five days since I practiced yoga. And by yoga, I actually mean asana, the type of yoga that involves twisting our bodies into crazy poses and focusing on linking the breath to the body (it all does sound kinda weird to write it down like that).
Did I miss it in that time? No. In fact, I didn’t even think about the fact that I didn’t practice for five days.
Rebel yogi, I know. But actually, practicing asana is just one avenue of practicing yoga. Sometimes people talk about yoga as a lifestyle, and that’s what it is for me, but what does that actually mean?
It can mean maintaining integrity through yogic ethical standards such as Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (nonstealing), Brahmacharya (continence), and Aparigraha (noncovetousness).
It can mean practicing self-discipline though powering up for that morning run or that evening pre-bed meditation practice.
It can mean focusing on being mindful in daily tasks, being concentrated in the chaos surrounding you (um, hello waitressing). Sipping that delicious cup of coffee slowly and taking the time to appreciate it.
It can mean practicing pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) if that floats ya boat.
It can mean practicing the rituals that are important to your spirituality, such as prayer, church/temple going, chanting, etc etc etc.
It can mean focusing on Jnana yoga, cultivating knowledge and learning, in particular with regards to self-study.
It can mean practicing Karma yoga, acts of selflessness, doing things or working and not expecting reward for your actions. Working because the work must be done and simply doing it.
It can mean using mantras to centre yourself.
Many of these things we already do, without putting the yogi labels on them. Or maybe you have a different label for these things. To me, those are all just different words for the same thing. Whatever resonates with you, roll with that. Basically, whether I miss an asana practice or not, yoga permeates every aspect of my life. While I call it yoga, you might call it something else.
Practicing asana every day is wonderful if you can do that. But this week I practiced yoga in other ways, like self-discipline in going for a run early in the morning, brief meditation before going to work, and mindfulness when eating a scone and noticing every part of how delicious it was. Plus, I got to spend an entire week with my parents and really, that is more important to me than yoga ever could be.
How did you practice “yoga” this week? Asana, mindfulness, meditation, maintenance of your moral values, breathing techniques, discipline, mantra, etc etc etc… what comes to mind?