Ever feel like your yoga practice is stale? Stagnant? Boring? If you’re nodding in agreement, this is a good sign that your practice is evolving. As a teacher, I’ve even felt a little stale in what I was bringing to my classes. It happens to the best of us so don’t feel weird or anything. It’s a normal step in the progression of your practice.
For inspiration, I turn to Pantajanali’s Yoga Sutras. I find myself delving deeper into yoga philosophy, incorporating a sutra or two into each class or my own practice.
For example, I’ve been focused on the 5th Yama, Aparigraha, and I infuse each class with the art of letting go. At the same time I’m reminding my students that what we possess possesses us, I’m reminding myself.
When I bring this to my own practice, I start with scanning my body and release muscles that are griping or contracting for no reason. When the muscle or muscles release, I create more space and find more freedom in my physical body.
Taking this off the mat, what am I clinging to? What am I holding onto? What thoughts or attitude do I hold so rigid that I impede the flow of ease and grace?
A few days ago, I purged my closet of clothes I haven’t worn in months, even years. I found myself clinging to a dress I wore four years ago for my daughter’s wedding. Every time I’ve purged my closet, I’d look at the dress and the memories of my daughter’s wedding would come flooding in. It was a beautiful day and she was a stunning bride. My attachment to the memory somehow attached itself to the dress.
This time around, the dress brought a big smile to my face but I knew. I knew it was okay to release the dress, create space and freedom, and perhaps another woman will be able to use the dress, if even for one evening, and feel beautiful in it.
Releasing a dress sounds pretty easy. But when it comes with a powerful memory, it makes it a bit harder. After all, the dress I wore to my daughter’s wedding has been hanging in my closet for four years.
Letting go of old stories that captivate and enthrall your ego is much harder than a dress or clothes from 3 sizes ago. One of the hardest stories I’m slowly releasing (I feel like it’s taken years) is the gripping story about my corporate job. A few months ago I finally realized that I hit my own glass ceiling.
True story. I created my own glass ceiling because I decided to stop climbing the corporate ladder except I was feeling looked over when others were getting promoted. It finally dawned on me when one of my co-workers applied for and received a promotion right before Christmas. I had a good laugh at myself and I felt very happy for my co-worker. I remember reading the job description and saying no to it. So if I said “no” why on earth feel bad about it? (Hang on while I have another good laugh).
Further understanding came in one of my heart to hearts with myself on my mat. I don’t want another job. I don’t want a promotion. I have no desire to develop my career in corporate. I’m 56 years old. The position I have now is more than enough. It affords me the space and freedom to create the rest of my life exactly the way I want it to be. I have the time to teach and share yoga. I have the time to practice yoga, travel, and create art. I am grateful for what I have. I am not in search of anything greater in the corporate world.
In fact, I can’t wait to jump the corporate ship (shit?) all together.
When you let go of what you’re holding onto, you find more freedom.
“It isn’t mine to carry so I let it go.”
“Everything already is okay.”
Letting go is hard. Holding onto that which is unhealthy, judgmental, and negative is detrimental to your well-being.
Look to the yamas and niyamas to inspire your next class or practice!
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I’m pretty high on yoga nidra. I’ve worked through lots of my own stuff and I’ve received some amazing inner insight. I love, love, love teaching yoga nidra and I strongly believe that everyone who practices this will receive innumerable benefits. Here’s my top 5: