So much is written about yoga these days. People describe how it helped them through a crisis, healed an injury, made them stronger. Many are inspired to become teachers. Doctors write about yoga’s health benefits and teachers write about its philosophy, anatomical mechanics, or energetics. I am one more fan, student, and teacher, and I want to add my say.
Is practice something that you enjoy so much that you cultivated it into a daily “practice”? Just an official “ritual” stamp on the activity that is already strongly rooted in your heart? Or did you hear from someone else that meditation is great, or checking your finances daily is “good practice”?
Another triangle pose, another sun salutation, another day of yoga, sounds like drudgery to the outsider. So are we all changing to the next fitness fad? No way! There is never boredom in the ritual because the nuances are forever different and the exquisite flavor keeps being more refined, delicate and delightful.
The Buddha said, “I am not enlightened, I am merely awake.” What does it mean to be awake? Most of us spend our lives in relative states of “un-consciousness.” Sometimes we undergo a big, dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime awakening—such as a near-death experience—or we can occasionally experience subtler awakenings, such as hearing a story that resonates deep in our beings and creates a shift in consciousness.
Insomnia can deprive us of the joy of the day by creating anything from a fuzzy brain, to an agitated nervous system, to lousy digestion, to a compromised immune system. How do we get a good night’s sleep when our minds are on overdrive, and our muscles are bound up? One reason for insomnia can be that we haven’t used our legs enough during the day; when your legs are restless, it is difficult for your body to relax. If you can’t get off the “go” mode, sleep may be illusive—after all, for incessant worriers, what better time to worry than when you should be sleeping?
Wellness pioneer Hillary Rubin encourages us to stay motivated to make it to the yoga mat — and to practice compassion for ourselves on the days when we don’t. One of her favorite motivators? Dedicating your daily yoga practice to someone or something that inspires you.
Are you crazy busy? Is there hardly a moment to catch a breath? Is your significance tied to how much you work and how much you accomplish?
We must retrain ourselves to be, not just to do; to live, not just work. It can take time and awareness to rewire yourself, but it’s not an impossible task — and you can make a significant headway with 15-30 minutes of daily yoga practice.
Student: Jill, what do you actually do for your personal yoga practice?
Me: I practice what I teach.
Student: You mean you don’t do anything else? Spinning? Or running? Or Zumba? I mean, how do you get your arms to look like that?
Me: I don’t mean to sound cryptic … but I practice what I teach.
It’s true. I have been practicing yoga and multiple movement arts since I was 11 years old, and the yoga practice I teach in the classroom (I began teaching part-time at age 19 at The Omega Institute) has evolved and changed with me through the past two decades. The work I share in my classes, workshops, conferences and videos all resonates with my own discoveries in my personal “jungle gym” of a practice.