I don’t know about you, but I always find it inspiring to hear from others about their home practice — what inspires them, as well as what challenges them. It’s for that reason that I am so thrilled to introduce you to one of our lovely participants in a previous round of 30 Days of Curvy Yoga, Tracey Lyon!
1. What was your experience with yoga before you took 30 Days of Curvy Yoga?
I have been practicing yoga for many years on and off. I practice yoga like I practice all self-care … very devoted for a while, fall off the wagon for a time (sometimes a LONG time), rinse and repeat. I’ve taken enough classes to know about yoga poses and alignment and breathing.
When I make time for myself and practice, I love the way yoga makes me feel (during and after) and it is easy to get into a regular practice. And yet it’s also easy for me to let other life priorities take over and drown out the call of yoga.
I’m pretty sure that I am the only one who rides this roller coaster, and that everyone else is consistent with their practice.
2. What benefits do you receive from home yoga practice?
I receive all the benefits of yoga (that list is long!) plus one big benefit that I get from a home practice that I don’t get elsewhere: Ease.
Ease comes when I do a pose or several poses whenever I have some time and my body calls. Ease comes when I do the poses my body calls for in that moment. It’s never exactly the same twice (except when I follow along with an audio or video recording with a yoga teacher, which I do sometimes). Ease comes when I am by myself, listening to this body, and answering that call. Ease comes when I allow and accept, instead of feeling like “real” yoga requires me to push myself to do what others are doing/something that is difficult.
Home practice allows me to integrate yoga into my life instead of feeling like to do “real yoga” I have to carve out 90 minutes, get dressed, drive to a studio, pay money, and follow a series of poses (some of which don’t feel great for the body I’m in).
3. What do you find most challenging about home yoga practice?
Getting to the mat is the only challenge.
Once I’m on the mat, there is no challenge (this from a woman whose tree pose looks like she’s standing in a hurricane… even after YEARS of practicing. I practice acceptance and keep trying the pose. I hardly mind the swaying at this point.) There are many poses I likely won’t ever do in this lifetime. I’m fine with that. My yoga body seldom looks like the teacher’s or the magazine picture. I’m fine with that, too. My goal is to practice daily. THAT is my challenge.
4. If you had to give some advice to someone considering starting a home yoga practice, what would it be?
1. Stop. Breathe.
2. Listen to your body.
3. Respond by moving. (My body calls for certain poses frequently and other times, asks to be stretched in new ways. I imagine this is different for each individual.)
4. Smile in gratitude. You’ve practiced yoga today.
I know, it seems like it should be more “official” or uncomfortable or somehow harder to be a “real” practice, right? It doesn’t.
5. What was your favorite part about 30 Days of Curvy Yoga?
I loved the affirmation and acknowledgement I got from 30 days of Curvy Yoga.
Teachers and participants reminded one another constantly that yoga doesn’t require perfection. It’s okay to listen to my body and do a set of poses that feels good. It’s okay to fall off the wagon. It’s okay to pick up again without a whit of guilt. It’s okay to practice yoga at unusual times, in unique sequences, and for 16 minutes or 41 minutes (I guess I thought somehow that “real” yoga takes an hour?) It’s okay to modify poses for my body (it’s actually better than okay, it’s healthy). It’s okay to practice on a mat with dog hair and occasionally an interruption (life happens.) It’s okay not to pay $15, practicing yoga for free at home is equally as valuable. It’s okay to just practice one essential pose, and it’s okay if that pose is shavasana.
Here is the message I received from 30 days of Curvy Yoga in a nutshell: Whatever your practice, allow it. Whatever you body can do, accept it. When in doubt, go to the mat.
Tracey Lyon has recently moved back to her hometown on the east coast of Florida where she is blessed to work from home, practice yoga on the beach, ride around in her dream car, and spend time with the love of her life and their extended family. Her passions are yoga, collage art, zen doodling, reading, singing loudly (and off key), her iPad, and laughing with beloved friends.