Miranda's 2 cents on a little blog series we have going at the moment… Harriet exploring the joys of a studio practise and Audrey celebrating a home practise.
Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle – much of what Harriet says about studio communities and the benefits of being taught my over teachers rings true for me. But as Audrey says I love the flexibility and mobility of a self practise, non-comparison, journey of self discovery and most definitely the wearing (or not wearing!) what you want!
I have to say rarely does a morning go by when I don’t get on my yoga mat. But more often than not this will be to do seated meditation and pranayama – something which sounds much more scarily yogi than it really is! I wouldn’t do them if I didn’t feel so much benefit from them… they have become habitual for me – as much a routine as brushing my teeth. And similarly, just like when you skip brushing your teeth one morning, if I don’t do them I feel (taste?!) a bit off…
So here is my take one it:
Firstly, my predominant practise is Mysore style Ashtanga, which by its nature combines self practise with studio practise! The Ashtanga practise is a set sequence of postures, that students move through at different rates – your practise gradually gets longer over time as you work through and ‘master’ (to a certain degree, physically/mentally) each posture. Its not uncommon for students to hit a stumbling block and be stuck on a particular pose for months, or even years! Each student is on their own journey with practise, and how long/advanced their sequence is depends on so many variables…
But basically, a Mysore class is a group of Yogis coming together and doing their own practise. The teachers are there to adjust, guide, remind you when to engage a little bit more and also when to soften and relax into a pose. They also determine when it is appropriate for you to add another pose (to become a certified Mysore Ashtanga teacher is quite a process – but essentially they get put through their paces with their own developing practises so they have a great deal of compassion especially when it comes to getting stuck on a pose… they all nod knowingly at me when I tell them I am sick of smashing on the top of my head and then back onto my arse in bhujapidasana…)! So its like a home practise, with all the discipline and self-study that is required, coupled with the support of a teacher and group energy/community of a studio!
Through much of this year however I have been practising just at home by myself in the morning – mainly a variation (often not the full sequence) of my ashtanga practise, but also some more fluid and yin style sequences that have felt more appropriate on certain days! That is probably the thing I value most about my home practise – I have got to know myself (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) far far better when I am my own teacher. It also encourages me to practise intuitively – to really listen to myself and adapt and modify depending of how I feel on a day by day basis. And to recognise that a physical practise rarely progresses in a straight line – some days/weeks/months we have more energy/time/strength than others. But these shows a deeper progression of a yoga practise that is built on the foundations of Presence and recognising What Is, and acting accordingly with acceptance, as well as non-attachment and non-violence, which comes from pushing yourself in a practise beyond your current means (been there, done that….)
So for much of the past year I have enjoyed a solely home practise… but currently, however I am craving a studio practise – to use the shared space and community to help me connect in with myself more at a time full of transition and upheaval!
Home practise… Studio practise… its all part of this wonderful journey that Yoga is!