I’ve been re-reading Kara Leah Grant’s ‘40 Days of Yoga’ . I bought and read it last year, and while it was thought provoking and very interesting it wasn’t the right time for me to put it into practice.*
Last week, I started re-reading it. It’s really profound while being profoundly simple. I’m not even finished reading and I decided that it was time to take action. Time to start my regular home practice.**
The thing that tipped the balance for me, timing-wise, was when she said that a time period of 40 days has a spiritual element to it, as well as being a length of time you can wrap your mind around. I can easily wrap my mind around 40 days AND Lent – that infamous 40 day event- starts today.
Religion is no longer a part of my life, but some of the cultural aspects remain in my consciousness. Doing something different, making a sacrifice or taking up a new practice during Lent is one of them. I don’t DO it every year, but I think about it every year and if a meaningful idea arises, I follow through.
A home yoga practice feels particularly meaningful for me this year, so I started today.
I usually like to follow a yoga video or sequence designed by someone else*** but in her book, Ms. Grant explains how to put parameters on your practice so you can kind of go with what your body needs. I would normally be very nervous about that whole idea – How do I know what I’ll need? How will I be sure I do the ‘right’ thing? – but this time the appeal of the parameter idea won out over my nervousness (And her writing about yoga is so friendly that it helped create a space for me to be a bit experimental).
So, at 11:20, I lit a candle and then got on my mat for 20mins. I knew that I would start with an intention, do some child’s pose and cat/cow to ease into the practice, and that I would end with some Savasana/meditation. I didn’t know the middle. This is huge for me, to not know the middle and to start anyway.
It was the most enjoyable yoga I have ever done. I was focused and tuned in. My body told me where it wanted to go next and I moved it that way. It felt fantastic. I was expecting some mental pushback about whether the poses were ‘effective’ or not and whether I was doing them in the ‘right’ order but I got none of that. I just got directions about where to go next until suddenly I had no more directions and I realized it must be time for Savasana.
It was weird and it was marvellous, and I kind of wanted to start another session right away.
I have a good feeling about this practice.
*2013 was much more of a think year than a do year for me.
**I do yoga in bits and pieces all the time, but this is a focused, purposeful practice intended to put you in touch with your deeper self.
***Taking yoga teacher training so I can design my own is part of my long term plan