Being at Home on the Mat

This year marks 20 years of my yoga practice! 20 years! Sounds fantastic, right? I should be a pro yogi! Well, the fact is, I’m just like many people who come and go with their practices. I’ve spent hours on my mat, then not touched it for a year. I’ve joined fancy yoga studios, and I’ve attended classes in the dark back room of a rock climbing gym. No matter where I practice yoga, or for how long and how often, one thing remains true; healing and self awareness are always waiting for me on that mat. The mat doesn’t judge me. It doesn’t care how far I can stretch or if I’m unsteady and fall. It remains an unchanging base for me to root myself and spread my branches. And I am grateful to myself every time I revisit it!

My unfortunate truth, one that I think many experience, especially parents, is that it’s difficult for me to etch out time for my own extracurricular activities outside of the home. Between work, my older daughter’s activities, and my husband’s schedule, going to a yoga class becomes a challenge. Just the thought of picking up and dropping off kids, changing into my yoga clothes, driving to a class, spending 90 minutes there, driving home, having dinner, preparing for the next day; it all sounds exhausting. It would take at least two hours out of my already busy life. And while maybe I could find the time to do this once a week, in order to reap the true benefits of the practice, I need to be practicing more! The only solution was to move my yoga practice into my home. Enter dilemma #2.

Several times over the years I attempted a yoga practice at the old house but I just couldn’t do it. It was too small. You may be thinking, “Come on, you couldn’t move a chair aside and lay down your mat? People can stretch anywhere.” And this is true, but the thing with our old rental is the ceilings were veeery low. Standing at 5’9″ I was unable to extend my arms up over my head without hitting the ceiling. Those of you who have ever been in a tightly packed yoga class, know it’s difficult to really open up when you can’t, well, open up. So yoga at home wasn’t an option, and attempting it just annoyed me. It made me feel even more stifled than I already was.

Once we moved into our new space, with ample room to move and sway, I had no more excuses, it was finally time to begin again my yoga practice, in the quiet and ease of my own home so I could do it whenever I had the time. So, I faced my final challenge of finding an online class to follow. I’m better when guided, that’s just how I roll. I like to have something or someone that holds me accountable. That’s when a friend recommended a Youtube channel called Yoga with Adriene. With over 4 million subscribers I figured it was worth a shot and after one class I was hooked. I;ve started with her series – Dedicate – A 30 Day Yoga Journey. It sounded like the perfect way to begin my practice again, with a series focused on dedicating the time for myself on the mat! Her videos are about 17-25 minutes long. Perfect for this busy lady! Once my kids are in bed, I’m on the mat and off again with plenty of time for whatever else I feel like doing before falling asleep. And the best part is: the videos are free!

While Adriene ends each class of this journey with a “see you tomorrow,” I’ve allowed myself to skip the weekends. When the pressure to do something creates stress in my life, it takes away the joy of doing it. So I give myself permission to have the weekends off. But I try to do other things to nurture my mind and my body on those days. Taking walks is another activity that I’ve added. And mindfulness. But we’ll talk about those in another post. So here I am, 20 years and 20 “days” into my renewed yoga journey and I’m feeling stronger, calmer, and more confident in my practice! I’m once again home, in my home, on my mat.

Whether you’re a newbie to yoga or have been doing it for years, I’d encourage you to check out Yoga with Adriene. For me, it’s perfect. Perhaps once everyone in my house is a little more independent, I can find the time to bring my practice to a class with others, but for now, I’m choosing to nurture myself in my own space, and I love it! Namaste.

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