I heard someone say the other day that you’re never alone when you’re practising yoga: whenever you step onto your mat anywhere in the world, day or night, you can be sure that someone somewhere is doing the same thing. The idea was that although yoga is inherently a solitary practice, you’re not really going it alone. When it feels hard, when the uncertainty and doubt gets too much, we can harness this feeling of togetherness and support, even at a distance.
When I do my home practice certainly I’m often not alone — Hubby likes to practice when I do. He says my ujjayi breath warms the room up nicely! I also notice him watching me and he often turns towards the poses I’m studying, learning from what he sees. It’s nice for me to observe the changes in his practice and he too takes pleasure in seeing me develop the postures I’m exploring. So although selfishly I’d sometimes prefer more space to myself, the shared time is also quite beautiful.
He usually finishes his practice before me, so I do get some time by myself. Of course, it feels different once he’s left the room. I can take up more space physically, as I drift off the mat and become more expansive in my movements. I find these times are also interesting energetically. I turn more deeply inward, with a greater focus on self-observation and quiet focus. These are the times when I really let go and release something from deep inside. “Dance like there’s no-one watching” works for yoga too!
And today after a deep savasana, this experience of alone—not-alone in yoga arose in a rather wonderful way. As I sat quietly offering my customary gratitudes to close my practice, it seemed that my teachers were sitting around me, forming a circle. I could feel them holding me up through their love, encouragement, and support. I had such a strong sense of their presence, I could almost feel their touch, the way they would guide me in my practice or help me in some physical way. Intense but brief memories: a particular assist from one, playing trust games of balance with another, chanting together, a familiar look and smile, a hug, the way they each say my name with their unique intonations and accents.
In UK we’re in lockdown now so even my local teacher feels far way and the others are geographically more distance to greater or lesser degrees. Yet I felt so strongly that they were all there with me, that they were there just for me. It was quite strange, the intense vividity of this experience. And I loved it. If I could capture the experience to replay at will — at need even — I would. And see which of them would be first to call me out on the need for non-attachment! 🙂