Lessons: One is, if I’m having a strong reaction to something, there is something in it worth learning or reframing to use and get inspired by.
I have been reading a book entitled, “Yoga at Home: Inspirations for Creating Your Own Home Practice”. I saw it on a site about yoga and got it from the library. It’s a great book, and can be useful whether you read it from beginning to end or do what I’m doing, dipping into it and reading whatever I feel like. There are lots of photos, which is great, as it’s the kind of topic you get inspired by by seeing images of home practice, not just reading. There are a lot of points of view from different yoga teachers/experts.
I haven’t gone through the whole book. So far I’ve noticed a lot of great ideas and tips. The book gives you a wide range of points of view, ideas, yoga philosophies, and people’s homes in their home practice.
It struck me that the concept of home is everywhere in the book with the concept of practicing yoga outside of a class or teacher guidance and defining/redefining what yoga means for you and what yoga “space” is.
Some food for thought that came up as a theme was, your home practice is very personal to you, and doing a home practice involves figuring out, discovering what you want from yoga at home. The “where” part is fascinating to me and ranged from people saying, wherever you put your mat and intentions can vary; the imortance and meaning can come from what you feel and do on the mat to people who have very specific sanctuary type spaces where they do their practice in their home. Even the people travelling in an RV made the inside of the RV look like a sacred meditative yoga type space. People also lucky enough to have outdoor space showed how they practice outdoors.
Another variable is, are you alone and focused simply on your yoga, or are you incorporating it into daily life involving partners, pets, children, music, etc.? Even the concept of the yoga mat and what surface you do yoga on is expanded to include the kitchen floor and rugs and grass/outdoor nature as well as more typical yoga mats one expects to see.
The book focuses on creative practice and going with your intuition in the moment, and doing things one woulnd’t expect, like listening to specific music or even playing music yourself, writing in a journal, coming to the mat and doing something, embracing the unknown, and of course, time of day and frequency of practice.
A while back, someone who knows me well said the obvious, “You want a Zen Garden, and your living space and life are not nor likely to be this perfect Zen Garden you’re imagining.” In this book, a majority of the people have created their own “zen garden” in which to practice yoga. They may think they are making “home yoga space” accessible to the average person, but the pictures in the book of course look slightly unattainable, just as the images of these yogis doing yoga are images of a range of people in different sizes and shapes, but they all look somewhat “perfect”, ie. out of reach, whether the pose they are in looks out of reach, or how they look and what they’re wearing and their physical shape seems out of reach. Towards the end of the book you get more range of physical bodies for sure, but it would be nice if they were varied throughout the book. Why does Magdaline Adhiambo get a two page spread at the end and no name in the table of contents at the beginning of the book? She should have been in the beginning or middle and be given several pages, considering how inspiring she is to many people and how she represents atypical yoga body size and shape. And the founder of “Curvy Yoga” is also near the end of the book. They do include a range/varitey of ethnicities, ages, gender only male or female so far in my flipping through the book. They should have included some of the well known yoga teachers out there who are challenged with not having legs or arms etc. There is something wrong with a book that puts the “curvy” yoga teachers at the end instead of right in the middle. That definitely is a big problem with the book, as well as excluding trans and gender variance as well as focusing on body shape/size and body limitations. If you want this book to inspire the average person who likes yoga, you need to welcome them at the beginning to see people they can identify with. Whom is this book for?
The other problem for me was they emphasize creating a “sacred” space and the diversity of that and spaces in which to do yoga, but they don’t go far enough. Yes, your dog or kid might be there, but what about having a person whose house is messy show how they carry on a yoga practice in a sloppy setting? What about considering the many people who not only don’t have a good space at home, but who have a messy home?
Since they did not include that, I am going to write a post about that concept of yoga, the idea of Equanimity, being still and grounded in the midst of chaos and mess and changing settings, in the midst of outside distractions like other people watching TV, talking, etc.
To me an important part of yoga and my approach to therapy is the idea of accepting what’s going on and being more ok in the middle of imperfect aspects of life. This involves not resolving something with another person, leaving off in the middle trusting you can return to it later, not finishing things and being ok with it, trusting in the next moment and letting go of control, that a lot of creativity involves disorder and chaos and unexpectedness, spontaneity. In this book spontaneity is important, but it is limited to what you do every time you go to practice at home, how you do it and how you sequence your private yoga or not, when and how long you do it, whether meditation is a big part or not. Those are important ideas as well.
So I will write a post of my own ideas about my personal home yoga practice which I started on August 5, 2014.