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A Blog: Ruth from down-under

How do I practice yoga through challenging times?

These days the barriers to practicing yoga can be many! At least for me, some days they are altogether overwhelming. Why?

First of all, let me give you a little back ground on my personal situation. When word of Covid-19 first appeared my husband and I were vacationing in Australia. Not fully understanding the difficulties we were about to face, we were slow to react. All international flights were cancelled in the blink of an eye. We now find ourselves on an extended overseas holiday not sure of when we will get home. At least we are not homeless, we have our little motorhome. What does that mean for my yoga practice?

Note: we are not always living in our motorhome here. From time to time we look after homes & pets which does give me an opportunity for an asana practice. The challenges when we are living in our motorhome are many...

  • No floor space - none! Our motorhome is very compact. It's just not possible to roll out my mat here.

  • No grass space for a practice. Usually without floor space I would choose to practice outdoors. This is not an option now as we just happen to be in a cooler climate and on the edge of winter... means cool wet days for us.

  • No yoga studio to go to. Like most places in the world, yoga studios shut their doors. (It is nice to note that this is now easing up somewhat)

  • No Zoom! For some, Zoom classes have been a wonderful option.

So how do I practice yoga when there are so many barriers? I need yoga now more than ever before. One of my yoga students gave the answer. When I reached out to her during our first stages of lock down, she told me how grateful she was for everything she had in her life. Her words reminded me how important gratitude is and how much power it carries. This also served as a reminder that Yoga is not only about stretching your body. It is so much more than an asana practice. Yoga takes you beyond the poses (the asana), to connect with your deeper self.

Gratitude has become the most important piece of my practice, some days the only piece. Each morning when I first wake, before getting out of bed, I spend a few moments being grateful. I think of as many things as I can to be thankful for: the morning sun, the comfort of my bed, the birds singing outside my window, my loving family & friends... I acknowledge all things good in my life. This early morning gratitude sets the tone for my day.

On days that I can't roll out my mat, I practice a gratitude meditation. I pause in silent meditation and draw the light of gratitude to my heart and the space around my heart. To begin I bring to mind the things that I am truly thankful for. Then, I go deeply inward and notice the energy this gratitude brings with it. I place my attention on this energy and observe how it makes me feel. I connect to the beautiful vibrations of gratitude. My entire being is immersed in gratitude. I practice this meditation at least once a day, some days more often.

For most of us Covid has changed the way we do everything! For me it has been a profound reminder of the importance of gratitude. It has also demonstrated clearly that yoga goes way beyond the asana!

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