Never Give Up Your Practice

Over the past 18 months, I have been going through some major life changes. And they are not over.

Last winter during a time of high frustration I felt that I may have to give up yoga entirely.  I was looking at going back to work full-time while essentially being a single mother to two elementary-age children. Adjustments had to be made! To keep practicing four to five times a week seemed impossible.  And to keep teaching up to seven classes a week was really a stretch.  I was so sad as I envisioned my yoga practice slipping through my fingers.  I even went through a period of time where I felt angry toward those who could take mid-day classes and those who have family to support them while they teach after-work hours or on the weekends.  I started thinking that maybe yoga is for those who are wealthy and “have the time.”

Juli on the path

Photo by James Martin

Then a treasured friend and mentor from Inner Power Yoga said to me, “Juli, I would really like to see you keep your practice.”

It took a little while to sink in, but I realized that it is within my control to keep my practice.  And anger and envy were certainly of no benefit to me. Why should I begrudge someone who seems to have a friendlier schedule? No one can take my practice away unless I let them.

So adjustments have been made and life will continue to force all of us to make adjustments, won’t it?  But I get the Vinyasa practices in, now three-to-four times a week instead of four to five. Sometimes I have the luxury of a 90-minute class in the nice warm studio, but often it is 30-45 minutes on my back deck, in my garage, on my living room floor at 6 a.m., in the spare bedroom at 8:15 at night.  But they are ALL MINE!  And the time on my mat is more precious and my time in the studio: GOLDEN!  I also began supplementing Vinyasa practices with Yin sessions a couple to times per week in my son or daughter’s room at night while they are reading before bed. They actually beg for me to stretch in their rooms while they fall asleep.  What a treat! I get to share my practice with them.

The more I do these types of practices, the more motivated I am to continue. Because I have realized that no matter how brief, I always feel better afterward.  My “big” problems seem smaller.  And surprisingly, my practice seems to be advancing still.  Poses are suddenly “happening.”  Things I have been working on for a year or more suddenly appear in my practice, even in the short 40-minute sessions.

It brings to mind  a Bhagavad Gita quote: “Even a little practice of this discipline protects us from greater fear.”

Juli Wheel

Just a little can protect you from giving up on yourself. Just a little. And then you see these little victories on the mat will give you strength way beyond their size.  It’s almost like I have a little secret or light inside of me that gives me strength to face the day and stand taller.  When a problem arises my inner voice says:  “Yeah, that is stressful. But I dropped back into wheel this morning. Beat that!” Never give up your practice.