Friday, February 12, 2010

What's The Big Idea?

In my short 8 years of yoga practice (6 of them a daily ashtanga practice) I have delved deeply and gone far. I have cried on the mat while nursing (eventually losing my mother) through Ovarian cancer. I have practiced with zeal in the tumultuous marital time that followed. I have practiced through joyous and seemingly easy times and through tougher times of injury and illness. I have stepped on the mat with giddy happiness and energy bubbling over and on many a morning when the subway steps seemed insurmountable and even a suryanamaskar seemed too much. I have taken my yoga (or followed it?) from NY to Boston to NH to San Fancisco, to Tahoe, Boulder, Miami, India, Mexico, Woodstock, and back to NYC again. But through all this, I have somehow managed to remain young in the practice.

There was an essay contest earlier this year, asking when people felt they had finally, truly felt like an adult, a real grown up. I think I have only recently begun to feel even the stirrings of this, in a way. With the purchase of a home-away-from home in Woodstock, NY, I have had to look at several aspects of my life in a whole new light, and take on responsibilities in a new way. One of them, of course, is my yoga practice. It’s been said that practice mirrors life and this is certainly true for me. The responsibility for my life experience, and yoga experience, now falls squarely on my (not so young) shoulders, and it’s time to take the reins.

Practice in Woodstock is entirely up to me. There’s lots of yoga there, but not much Ashtanga. Yes, there is a group of about 4 people who gather two or three times a week to practice together, but there is no teacher. In fact, I am growing into my teacher role there! So mostly I am on my own with my practice. With ashtanga, that should be easy, right? You have your practice, you know what it is, when and how to do it, when to take a day off. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Why is it so hard to simply take the first step onto the mat? It’s time to finally put my practice where my mouth is and really do it!

So here are the questions. Will I be able to maintain my daily practice, even while moving around so much, with teachers and without? Will I be able to take care of myself in the same way, maintain the practices that make me feel good, even when I know no one is “looking,” no teacher is waiting for me in the morning, except maybe me? Will I integrate the chanting and pranayama that help to steady and ground my practice, when no one forces me to make the extra time?

How can I find balance between my yogic ideals, my eat-drink-and-be-merry husband, my oenophile background and foodie tendencies and my austere early morning asana, my gourmet vegetarian cooking hobby and my carnivorous husband and friends, my yoga teaching and copywriting careers, my love of luxurious beauty products and my resolve to go natural and organic?

In short, what is a sustainable Laura? These are the questions we all contemplate in one way or another, and that keep life exciting on and off the mat. Follow me on the journey on the mat and beyond as I follow and create the path of the Laura Life.

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