I am writing this from my sanctuary space, a lovely light filled room in my partner’s house, just outside of Atlanta. It has been about 5 weeks since I left my long time home in Nagoya, taking all of my belongings to make a new life, in a new state, but an old country.
I traded in lots of friends and students, a budding yoga teaching career, and convenient transport for life with my partner, closer to my family, and the chance to reinvent my career.
I am filled with gratitude to have this chance. And I remind myself of this everyday, since sometimes I do forget how lucky I am…
For the past month, I have been living the life of a housewife – who can’t drive in a small town with no public transportation. Totally dependent on my partner to get around, and therefore most of my social interactions, I am experiencing something totally new. I am learning just how to maintain the essence of myself that I have developed, while also becoming one with my partner and living peacefully and joyfully together. This process has been painful at times – I realised just how much I rely on friends and social interactions to create my sense of self. At times, it feels lonely. Literally, all day with just me and the cats.
So, I went back to what I know works for me – yoga. That includes studying the philosophy, doing the poses, and meditating. All parts are important, at varying times in our lives one part plays a bigger role than others.
Recently I have been reading and meditating on the Yoga Sutras, a book that I have been meaning to read for years. It is one of the seminal books about yoga, explaining the purpose, the practice and the benefits of a complete yoga practice. For anyone interested in tackling this 1600 year text, I recommend the Sri Swami Satchidananda version, as it is much easier to read than other versions.
Not teaching yoga for the past month, I have had the chance to focus on my practice, a treat! I have been reflecting on what yoga is for me.
What is your yoga practice for you?
Reset time – to come back to the emotional set point that I desire. That feeling of doing a familiar pose or breathing technique, and instantly feeling the way you do in yoga class.
Self-healing/compassion time – to be kind to yourself, to be honest and accepting of all parts of me
Re-nergizing time – when I feel sluggish or tired, I need a pick me up, some poses, breathing, and meditation can refresh me.
Self-study time – Feel my body as it is right now, be aware of areas that are being neglected, need more strength or flexibility.
A way of life – a set of principles and values that help me understand the world and my place in it.
In yoga, especially Astanga yoga, we do vinyasa, which is a flowing series of poses that connect other poses. They are the transitions between poses. And any good teacher will tell you, they are as important as the main poses. If you rush through the vinyasa, or skip them, or stop breathing in them, your whole practice is compromised.
As I transition in my relationship, my career, my yoga practice, I remember to do so with grace, and keep breathing.