I started today with a yummy yoga practice, along with a dozen others who belong to the studio where I practice most often.
Our teacher set the theme for today’s class with a reading about discipline, presented from a Zen Buddhist perspective.
Discipline, Yoga Style
Some of the ideas our teacher highlighted included the yogic virtues of:
- Showing up: Returning to your mat even on days when your energy is low or you don’t feel well. To do so requires ignoring those excuses you hear in your head about being too busy to make time for practice. Telling your cats (or your kids) to wait a few moments before they get the attention they demand. Or silencing your electronic gadgets for an hour or so.
- Repetition of key poses and sequences over and over, until you’ve moved beyond the initial learning curve, to the point where those poses can feel boring at times. That’s the point where inner learning and listening begin, the point where an advanced practice truly begins.
- Routine: yoga as a practice you do every day, on and off the mat. Just a normal part of the day’s routine.
Putting It into Practice
Today’s asana practice featured just a handful of poses and sequences, done over and over, to reinforce the theme of repetition — doing the routine, doing the work as an aspect of discipline.
Some sequences we did with eyes closed — a form of moving meditation. Practicing with eyes closed tuned us in to the discipline of listening to the inner body, as we moved mindfully through space and time. It’s harder than it seems, and yet it’s a form of beauty.
Today’s class included yin-style poses that we held a long time, to release tension stored in our legs, shoulders and backs. A form of sweet pain…
Few of us worked up a sweat, and yet, at the end of class, we all talked about what a wonderful practice it had been. We were tired and yet refreshed, revitalized.
As for me, I sensed the muscles beneath my skin vibrating in a quiet but delightful way as I strolled to my car. A delicious sense of wellbeing permeated my body, made even better by a warm dose of Seattle sunshine.
What a lovely start to my day! Namaste, Elizabeth.