There is a lot of talk out there about what yoga is and is not.
Yoga is not a religion for me, but in a lot of ways the contemporary yoga discourse is very similar to contemporary religious discourse: there’s a lot of “my way is the only way” going on. The good thing about the internet, of course, is that you can choose what you read! : ) And for every blogger or teacher who is adamant that they have defined yoga the “right” way, there are five others who are open-minded, willing to try new things, and are consciously refraining from judgment.
As my dear loyal readers know, in January I challenged myself to practice yoga daily for at least 30 minutes. I think I did a pretty good job.
This experience opened my mind because it not only challenged me to get on my mat, it also challenged me to define yoga differently. My definition now is much broader and forgiving. Before, my practice consisted primarily of vigorous Vinyasa classes – but, believe it or not, there are many times one is just not in the mood for 8 sun salutations! For instance, when it’s Friday evening at 11:30 pm.
So here are my “notes” (so to speak) from the month of January.
Yoga does not necessarily have to
- include sun salutations
- include any warrior poses
- make you sweat
Yoga can be
- one pose or a hundred poses
- energizing or calming
- empowering or humbling
- spiritual or silly
- supta baddha konasana for 15 minutes, then child’s pose for 15 minutes
While practicing yoga, you can
- play music, but only if you want to
- use nothing, or use lots of props (blankets, straps, blocks, bolsters, dining room chairs)
- follow the rules or make up your own
- belly laugh at your laptop when your yogaglo instructor suggests you jump into crow pose from plank
- sing at the top of your lungs to a Brandi Carlile album – if that is just the kind of day you had
- let your dog in the room to give you kisses while in savasana
What about you guys? What practices have you had that break the rules and defy conventions?