There’s something about going home for the holidays that makes it hard to keep up a personal yoga practice. Change sometimes calls for a different yoga practice.
The importance of a dedicated, or “sacred,” space to practice can’t be overstated — it’s the cue that allows personal practice to become a habit. Take the cue away and it’s harder to maintain the habit. Even the suggestion to take something with you from your altar didn’t seem to help me out this time around.
A new take on yoga practice
While I was unable to keep up with my daily meditation and yoga practice sessions, my practice evolved and manifested in completely new ways.
I’m a fan of open-minded ideas around what a yoga practice looks like. Presence, intention, and breath are the ingredients to a successful yoga practice. While I didn’t roll out my mat and practice a sequence of asanas for 60 minutes at any point throughout the past week, I did start spontaneously stretching during commercial breaks of important football games (Go Bucks and Buffs!). I practiced a couple Sun Salutations, some Chatarungas, hip stretches, lunges, neck stretches, and backbends. Whatever my body felt like it needed to combat terrible amounts of sitting.
A different yoga practice beyond asana
When I wasn’t stretching, I was present with my family. Admittedly there were times when I got lost in the screen of my iPhone. But there were many more times when I simply enjoyed the company of my family, even in silence. That, in my mind, is the best incarnation of meditation — experiencing the bliss of being with the people you love most. The best part is you can still experience that bliss even when you’re arguing about what ornaments go where on the Christmas tree.
I even made the rare decision to go for a run on Friday morning as a rebellion against the sitting war. Intentionally moving my body, paying attention to my breath, being in nature, and getting lost in my thoughts is just as much a process toward meditation as sitting and doing nothing.
Maybe I didn’t practice a full yoga sequence or attempt any structured sitting meditation sessions, but I was still practicing yoga. The practice of yoga never begins or ends. It’s ongoing in your life every moment of every day. You always get to choose to show up for it or not.