{Im}Perfect Yoga Practice

What are “Zen” conditions to practice yoga – a warm (hot for some) room; solitude; the sound of only breath, relaxing music, or nature; scented candles or diffuser; no time constraints; a room free of clutter; no one else talking to you or demanding your time; you remembering the sequence you are working on without help from notes?  While all of those qualities are fine and dandy, they certainly aren’t always realistic. And coming to expect them ultimately means that you will only be let down when they don’t exist or worse, you decide not to practice at all because you “there were too many interruptions.”

 Well let me remind you…life is not perfect.

 And if it were, we wouldn’t ever learn anything about ourselves or how overcoming adversity can often bring out the best in us.

During the past 8 months, my studio has been in the back of a CrossFit gym, which does have a wall and door that separates the 2 spaces.  In the past year I have also taught in another CrossFit gym that did not have a space that could be dedicated to a private yoga class.  Both of these spaces served a wonderful purpose in that I was and have been able to share the gift of yoga with many people.  But I can also say that they were not the most conventional locations for practicing yoga in that there were many times when my students were graced with loud music, pounding weights, yells, or grunts from the gym.  And I’m sure many of my students found it hard to not get distracted by what the “neighbors” were doing, but continued to practice.  Even if it threw them off their game for a moment or took them out of their element.

It’s no different than when you are practicing on your own at home and are distracted by kids, the phone ringing, the sound of the T.V. in the other room, someone doing dishes or making coffee right next to you and trying to carry on a conversation with you while you are clearly practicing, and the list goes on.  I have had multiple conversations with clients and students about directing their attention inward and toward their breath or a mantra in order to “ignore” these outside disturbances.  Yet, some of my favorite practice times have been when I am interrupted by my son who wants to climb on, under or through me while I’m practicing.  The result:  PURE HAPPINESS.

 So what does each of these instances teach us?

When you can quiet your thoughts and mind of the inner conversations you have with yourself and endless concern that may exist for everything and everyone else in your life, and just have the courage to be present {and practice}, you start to change your perception on life and how you approach it.

You may even discover that the chaos or less-than-ideal conditions that we are faced with could, in fact, be contributing to the perfect conditions we need in order to thrive.

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