My practice is beginning to be more balanced and it carries over into my life. I'm just more pleasant, kinder, more patient, more understanding, more present, more conscious. I would love to say that I don't have 'those' days anymore where I bite heads off small children, mine in particular, or days where I have no more presence of mind than an orange in a fruit bowl (though some may argue that said orange has mastered advanced stillness) but there is more space in between days like those, whereas before they defined my experience.
Now, my first reaction is most often: Breath, awareness and a mindful survey of my internal and external environment. I am less likely to shaken by stress and more likely to breathe my way through.
Yoga came into my life almost 10 years ago by way of Madonna on Oprah--I wanted those arms, hell, I wanted the whole body. So I dillied and I dallied in it. I bought videos like a good student, some props and a book or two. Eventually, I ventured into a class with a teacher whose classes, to this day, I still attend from time to time. I went when I could afford to and took what she showed me home to the mat for my own personal construction.
Time would lapse between my practices, commitment would wax and wane. I did, however, commit to a teacher training. It was going to be great! I was going to be immersed in a 3-week on-site teacher training, all meals included but then my husband left me and the children and plans changed.
Again, I piddled in yoga as if it were a hobby. Years passed before yoga surfaced for me again during a period in my life when I began to pay close attention to the food I ate, my physical health and my footprint on the earth.
I still did not have a daily practice and I was practicing asana only but the shift was happening.
Once again, I began to think about teaching yoga--a naive thought on my part really because I had yet to hand myself over to the practice. I was only aware of and practicing a tiny piece of this ancient tradition.
Upon my graduation from my teacher training, the philosophy of yoga had penetrated my being and I was going deeper. Yoga was becoming a part of me, an extension of my path, an expression of my soul.
Now, I build my life around my practice and the shift is palpable.
I have a mat in my room, my living room and my trunk. I have an alter in my room, not for show but representing elements that resonate with my practice, my sacred space.
If I go out of town, my mat and practice come with me. I just roll it out when I get to where I'm going and maybe check-out a local studio.
In everyday life, I get up between 5:00-6:00 in the morning for a practice of asana (yin or yang or some combination of both), pranayama and meditation/stillness.
I DO NOT go into work or start my day until I have practiced so that I may move forward from a place of peace and awareness and presence.
From there to here, from then to now has been a journey and not a short one, seemingly, because of the number of years that it took to get here but from the greater cosmic perspective, it was a moment.
And perhaps, because of the journey, because of the contrast of having one foot out and one foot in, I am better able to appreciate the feel of, not only both feet in, but body, mind and soul in.