A shot of me practicing at home in 2007From the first page of my home practice journal dated 6/4/2006. "noticed my own heart aching. loneliness, sadness, hardening, closing." And if that isn't an advertisement for starting your own home practice, I don't know what is! ...or Not
One of the things I seem to always be wishing for my students is that they had their own home practice. I love my home practice, it is where I do my work and my learning. It teaches me everything I need to know about life. It makes me stronger and then when I'm in class, I just let it rip and let myself be informed by the teacher. And it gives me very clear questions to ask the teacher. I'm given answers that I then take home to work on things... it's almost like a science lab in many ways. The experiments take place in my body, mind, and heart. I love the adventure.
But if that first page is any indication of the feelings a new home practitioner feels, I understand why students come to me for help rather than just doing it themselves. Home practice is daunting. Even if you've set aside the time and have the space, the wardrobe, the music, the candles, the sequencing and asana know how, and everything.... you are still the only one on the mat. You are still going to meet yourSelf. Holy. Shiva/Shakti! And that, my friends is scary as all get out. I mean, who wants to meet everything they've been trying to run away from? Not me.
Well, not at first, not me. Something happens when you develop a home practice. Over time, it gets easier. Well, not exactly easier necessarily. I still feel closing, sadness, loneliness, all of those challenging emotions during my practice and afterwards -- but somehow they aren't such a big deal anymore. I guess it just gets easier to handle those things. Easier to accept the "darkness."
And it happens because we also meet the Light on the mat. I mean, we're afraid of meeting ourselves because we're afraid of the pain and sadness we'll find, but deeper than all that is the total goodness that is our true nature. I've found that the more I attune to the Light, the brighter it becomes, the easier it is for me to find it. On "dark" days, and there are plenty, I don't worry because I know things will change, eventually the clouds will break and I will feel better.
So I can just say, if you've tried a home practice before and stopped, or have considered it time and time again, just Go For It! Trust that, while it may seem difficult at first, plenty of excuses will come, know that it will get better. It won't take long for things to improve. And It is SO worth it!
The difference is very real as noted in this entry from my practice journal 3/22/10 : "Thank goodness again for the yoga. I feel like a new woman. I just feel so clear and clean after this practice. My brain feels lighter and I feel more energetic. I feel filled and refueled. I would not survive without this yoga."