I was reading this spot-on piece by the Babarazzi yesterday and it got me to thinking about my own yoga practice, what it is that I do, and why I do it.
Full disclosure here – Y’all know I’m an Ashtanga/Kundalini girl through and through….but, occasionally, as in every few months, I like to practice a more loose Vinyasa style. Normally on my own time, but sometimes I’ll go to a Vinyasa or Dharma class at a studio. That said, more often than not, I leave a studio Vinyasa class feeling kind of blah or annoyed, and sometimes even like I wasted my time (I know that sounds really bitchy, but I don’t really dig on sugar-coating my feelings).
Students from the Vinyasa classes I used to teach in Virginia can attest to the fact that my classes lacked the whole trance dance, zillions of handstands, wave your arms around and do whatever you want kind of vibe. My classes were fun (in my opinion) but we still worked on actual poses and did those pesky vinyasas from the floor, Ashtanga style. It’s good for you – makes you strong.
Updogs, not cobras, warriors, not crescents, navasanas, not crunches, you know?
I’ve been devotedly practicing Ashtanga long enough now that it’s sometimes hard for me to relax into the “anything goes” loosey-goosey style of Vinyasa that is very popular these days, especially in the bigger cities and the yoga festival scene. This is not to say that I’m some uptight rigid person.
I love to boogie…..on the dance floor or in my kitchen, not on my yoga mat. I love to twirl and sing and have a good time, but that’s not what I look to yoga for. I don’t need to practice yoga to express myself.
I express myself with my written words, with my fashion sense, the way I decorate my house, the art that I create, the flowers that I arrange, the collages I make, the songs that I sing, the conversations that I share. That feels like real self-expression to me.
Making a yoga pose “mine” doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t feel the need to throw by body around in order to feel free to be me. I’m me all the time. I’m so into being me so much of the time, that yoga is one of the few times when I can and need to focus on something more, something other than just being “me.”
My practice is my time to still the inner nagging, bragging, whining, worrying voices of “me” and instead just focus on the sequence, the disicipline, the dynamism and the breath. I love my practice for this very reason.
As my dear teacher Dan says, “Take a break from yourself sometimes, only then can you realize how important you really are.”
PS – I heart the Babarazzi. They are ballsy, intelligent and honest. They piss people off sometimes, and I’m okay with that. I do too.
PPS – That tow-headed fairy child is me. That child had and has no problem expressing herself, no sirree.