Within two weeks of being back in California and practicing on my own every morning, I began to really miss the community aspect of being in the same space with a group of people who have made the same commitment to the practice. Yet at the same time, with the joy of unlimited free yoga, I started to lose touch with how important solo yoga sessions are to me. I went from one extreme to the other. Heavy independent yoga to a public yoga class every day. Finding the balance, the sweet spot, the “yumminess” between the two is what I am learning once more.
During the first two weeks of our yoga teacher training, I had locked myself into my typical pattern of perfect attendance and participation. I will attend every class, plus every extra class and I will be the best yogi there is. This is my perfectionist attitude. I loved when Chris would say “let go of any pictures or images in your mind of what it looks like to be a good student.” This really helped me to release my former attitude and to give myself permission to miss a class here and there, and to be more honest with myself about what my body and mind actually needed without worrying about how it would appear to everyone on the outside.
By the end of week two, I made a commitment to myself that I would not attend Sunday morning practice and instead I would practice “my yoga.” It was actually hard. I really had to restrain myself from walking to class. But once I got out onto the porch of my room with my mat, my music and my self I felt a surge of relief and release. It helped me to assimilate everything that I was learning, and I continued to practice alone with any free time for the remainder of my time in Pavones.
I love the freedom, intimacy and honesty of practicing alone. And I love the support within a group that makes it easier on some level to go deeper into yourself. Now that I have ample experience with both classes and solo practice and had already begun to learn this lesson in Pavones, I have a clearer picture of the harmony between them and the necessity of each for my growth and development as both a yogi and as a person.