Atha yoga anushasanam
Now, the practice of yoga begins.
This is the first offering of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. I’m no Sutra scholar but to me this sentence invokes the truth that yoga practice can only happen in the present moment.
For many of us, daily routines have collapsed. Perhaps this has affected your practice. Maybe you can no longer attend your favorite studio class or you’ve lost your lunchtime meditation at work. Maybe you are missing the community aspect of a group practice or the way you would roll out your mat next to a friend. It’s just not the same on your own.
I feel that way, too.
I miss our community. I’d rather show up and practice with a group than move and breathe alone in my bedroom. But we don’t have those options now. Now, we have to show up for ourselves.
And now is the time for the practice of yoga to begin.
My best friend from high school and I talk weekly and conclude our conversations by giving each other homework. Usually it’s that thing you know you should do but need the extra accountability to actually do it.
Lately, for me, the homework has been daily yoga asana and meditation practice.
I know I need this because it helps keep my anxiety at bay. Even though I’m alone, somehow these practices still make me feel more connected and supported.
As you may know, Project Yoga Richmond now offers a membership platform through which anyone can access a variety of yoga and meditation practices shared by PYR Ambassadors. This benefits you and also helps support PYR during this time when the studio must be closed and other fundraising efforts may be hindered. Thera are multiple levels of monthly fees to help make these practices more affordable and accessible.
Join us, if you can.
To me, what matters most is that we continue to practice, that we try to find ways to draw yoga into the “new now.” It’s needed more than ever.
So, if you care to participate — and I hope you will — this is your homework, just as it’s mine. Until we meet face to face again, make yoga and meditation a part of your new daily routine. It’s one thing we can do to keep our footing when it feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath.
I’ll close this reflection the way I always close my classes — with gratitude.
Thank you for showing up to practice being present and mindful in these challenging times. Thank you of taking care of yourself so that you can help care for a hurting community and world. Thank you for supporting Project Yoga Richmond with your (remote) presence and your resources.
And now I invite you to think of all the things for which you feel grateful today. Let them arise in your mind and on your heart.
May we be well in body, mind, and spirit. May we find contentment in the now. May we be at peace with ourselves and one another. And may we be free.