It’s WOYOPracMO… a mouthful of barely pronounceable syllables that indicates someone has called for World Yoga Practice Month. Cleaver idea really, surely developed by someone who figured out one of the most difficult things for yogis to do is establish and keep the daily practice.
It’s an interesting concept – the idea of fostering a daily practice. First of all, why bother? In the parlance of our times, “what’s in it for me?” I’d like to confess to all that I had some great spiritual revelation way back when and committed myself to the daily practice as a means of armouring my spiritual self. Not so fast – the truth is my daily practice came about because I didn’t know better and I’m cheap. As in frugal, parsimonious. Not mean but a wee bit thrifty.
The fact is my first yoga classes weren’t planned (i.e. budgeted) and the tuition took a bit of creative juggling. I can’t remember what it was … some where in the vicinity of $120 for a 10 week course and it was coming out of the familial electric bill. $12 a week was the cost for my classes unless I did it on a daily basis. $12 divided by 7 days works out to about $1.71 a day. In lean budgetary times, I might not be given to a $12 weekly indulgence but when it’s under $2… I can take that out of the weekly coffee budget and still have change. So my daily practice really started out with the intention of getting my money’s worth out of my classes.
There’s still an element of that going on but it’s fading long into the recesses of what else comes from daily practice. In addition to the whole bit of getting my head together, a topic for another day, there was the physical aspect of practice. Everyday, the stack of blocks I was going towards for my forward bends was getting a little bit easier to find. I remember a sense of ah-ha when I was moving in and out of Parsvottanasana, the intense side stretch. My hamstrings had loosened and softened that suddenly that front leg was straight and my weight was on my back foot. In my very goal oriented brain, this was progress.
I’ll tell you for nothing that I’m not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. My body and my brain filed for divorce by the time I was 12. I was the last one chosen for any team in gym. And by the time I was 40, I had developed the slack and idle body that was the envy of no one, most particularly myself. Being able to physically do something .. beautiful beautiful Parsvottanasana, was that moment of revelation where my brain finally forgave my body. Maybe there was hope for a truce between them. A dim flutter of hope for reconciliation and forgiveness peaked up from the wasteland.
In retrospect the other saving grace was that Yoga Culture, if you will was completely foreign territory. Until I’d signed up for classes at LifeSong, I’d never darkened the doors of a yoga studio. I had no idea that studios usually supply mats. I just went out and bought myself one before my first class because I was going to need it. If I was taking swimming, I’d need a swimsuit. If I were playing hockey, I’d need skates. If I’m taking yoga, I need a mat. I got a mat. In retrospect, this conveniently provided one less excuse for not practicing.
Not that I needed it. It honesty hadn’t crossed my mind that one wouldn’t practice this on a daily basis. By way of explanation, my formative adult years were spent in the Army. Of course, you roll out of bed and do your yoga, just like you used to roll out of bed and go to PT, back in the day. Yoga, even when it’s done on the Army time of “Oh Dark and Stupid”, usually doesn’t involve running with ruck-sacks in the pitch dark and rain. I now consider Yoga an eminently civilized way to start one’s day.
Ironically enough, the only time my daily practice went to hell was while doing my teacher’s training. I’m still trying to puzzle that one out. But the last month has been about reclaiming the realm of the personal practice. Just my mat and me.
So there you go, it World Yoga Practice Month…have a WOYOPracMO on me. And for my American friends, Happy Independence Day.
Thanks for reading and Namaste,