A few minutes into my home yoga practice today, the Mariah Carey song “We Belong Together” became lodged unmercilessly in my head. Of all the songs! I have a strong dislike of Mariah and I am not even sure the last time I heard that song in particular. No amount of deep breathing, repetition of my meditation, or focus on the feeling of intense stretch could rid me of the tune. I quickly became frustrated with my inability to focus, but I continued on with the poses.
Then, as I sunk down into pigeon, rested my forehead on the floor, inhaled deeply, and managed to almost fall asleep, I realized the problem. My home practice wasn’t giving me what I needed. It had become very routine and was not the sanctuary I was seeking.
In my pursuit of a regular, almost daily, practice of asana and meditation I lost the truth behind why I practice yoga in the first place. Ironically, the truth of my practice is what led me to want to practice more often. Yoga, to me, is about finding a calm, centered place inside myself. Meditation is recent addition to my typical home asana practice, and this also is meant to help me find that place of stillness. Don’t get me wrong, I love the physical aspect of yoga, but I am trying to take it deeper and get more out of it than a good workout. However, the hope of finding a calm, centered, stillness on a daily basis led me to practicing yoga just for the sake of practicing, assuming I would get the benefit simply because I was doing it. But going through the motions of yoga is most definitely not the way to find stillness within.
Home practice has always been a struggle for me, because I can never let go of my surroundings. There is always something to distract me, even if I am the only one home and surrounded by silence. I see things that need to be done everywhere. Dishes need washing, the rug needs vacuuming, laundry is piling up. The list goes on.
If I am going to really commit to yoga on a regular basis as more than a physical work out, I have learned that I need to attend a class at least weekly. I need the atmosphere and the energy that comes from a group class to bring home and feed from. There is nothing like the profound effect of a room full of centered, focused yogis practicing to imbibe that feeling deep inside you. The whole room is brimming over with a quality of peace and harmonious passion. It is hard to explain if you have never been in a class like that because they don’t all have that quality.
This week, I get back on the true yoga wagon and stop just going through the motions at home. I will attend a group class and I will concentrate my home practice on the truth in yoga, not simply yoga for yoga’s sake.