3 Steps To An Organic Yoga Practice
“Organic” is all the hype these days! From lettuce to eggs, to friendships and broccoli – everyone’s after #TheRealDeal. We’ve awakened to a higher consciousness, looking for quality products and experiences. The same applies to your Yoga practice.
Whether you are a beginner to Yoga or a well seasoned yogi, you want to make sure to follow these 3 simple steps to keeping an organic yoga practice.
1. Know Your Type
A Yoga teacher friend of mine and I were having a conversation some months ago. “I’m just so exhausted, Olivia”, she said. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love yoga, but my practice sometimes takes me up to 2 hours and I find it hard to keep up with it every day when I also have work and life matters to tend to,” she explained. Coming from an Ashtanga background myself, I knew exactly what she meant. I was once there too, putting in the long hours, making sure not to skip a single vinyasa, doing the 5 breaths in each pose. I clearly remember mornings where I dreaded getting on the mat as my body told me “stay in bed a little longer.” Now, by no means am I endorsing laziness, however, I do support listening to your body and honoring its needs.
We live in very yang times, meaning – we’re overly active, saturated by movement, change, pressure of all kinds to be the best at everything – fitness, social status, beauty, you name it – we’re all competing hard for it. So, to add more fire, through a fast-paced, intense practice, is not your wisest choice. To make matters worse, my yogi friend was also of Pitta constitution. Her mind was always racing and burning, her attitude in life was a competitive, go-get-‘er personality type. Of course it came easy to overexert herself “in the name of Yoga”. She knew no other way than to push herself to her limits in every endeavor. By the time we had this conversation, it had been months since she had finished her teacher training and her practice had left her tired and at the verge of nervous breakdown and major physical strain. Luckily, as I shared my own personal struggles in my yoga journey, she was able to gain some perspective, self-enquire and arrive at the conclusion that she needed less yoga asana in her life and greater compassion, awareness of what works for her and what what wasn’t servicing her energy levels.
Bottom line is: know your type. Understanding your Dosha will help you choose a practice suitable for your needs. Yoga offers a range of options. There’s Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa (also known as Flow Yoga), Yoga Nidra, Kundalini Yoga, etc. If you need more fire in your life, find a practice that will make you sweat and boost up your vitality. If you already have an active, highly demanding life, perhaps go for a more gentle, slower-paced style of practice. You can also opt to work with Affirmations or Meditations on a day where your body needs a rest from the physical practice. Know where you’re at and listen to your body.
2. Respect Your Flow
Unless you make a living by teaching Yoga and are constantly on the mat, chances are you have a job, bills to pay, errands to run, perhaps children to raise and a life to live (of course Yoga teachers have a life too!) My point here is that Yoga above and foremost, brings flexibility into your life. The practice should help center yourself, bring peace and clarity and be a better human. If you find that you’re stressing out, and undermining your relationship, your duties because you need to make time for your practice, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your priorities. Yoga is a tool for personal development. It should not be used to avoid your dharma, or duty in life.
Respect your life flow. Do what needs to be done. Be the best mom, dad, wife, partner, boss or employee you can be. Then, in your moments “off duty”, get back on your mat, practice gratitude and dedicate time to Yoga. Keep your practice as organic as you buy your eggs. In reality, Yoga is happening all the time, not only when you’re in cobra, downdog or warrior II pose. Yoga is a life-long practice designed to awaken your dormant energies and transmute negative ones into positive vibes. Yoga creates space in mind, body and emotions so you can travel lighter in this lifetime.
3. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy
What you enjoy, you’ll most definitely come back to. Think of that delicious gelato shop you recently discovered that you just CANNOT get enough of! It gives you pleasure, it takes you to your happy place. You dream of it at work, the creaminess, the flavors, you picture it vividly, and you can’t wait to your next visit to explore perhaps new flavors or get that one you like the most. It’s the same with Yoga. If you are mindful to enjoy your practice and do it with love and care, you’ll most likely want to come back to your mat, time and time again. If you push yourself on overdrive, if you demand too much of your body and mind, you might temporarily achieve your goals of a more complex or fancy pose, but in time, you might develop a love-hate relationship with your practice. Trust me, I did. Until I realized that sometimes less is more. If you wish to make Yoga a life-long practice, I recommend you find ways to enjoy your practice. Tailor it to your needs. Use it as your go-to-all-purpose-tool to return to contentment, gratitude, inner peace.
Stay real, drink more water and flow on! 🙌🏻