|As you know I rely on my essential products—like castor oil and tumeric— from Banyan Botanicals.
I am so pleased to be featured on their amazing blog.
I live in New York City—the city that never sleeps. I first learned yoga here 36 years ago, but unlike many of today’s New Yorkers that I see on the street and the subway, I am not carrying my yoga mat bag and heading off to a daily class. I practice yoga at home. My teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of the Ashtanga Yoga method, lived in Mysore, India, and every year for 15 years, I went to Mysore to study with him. Every morning before the sun rose, I practiced with a small yet growing group of students in his home yoga shala (a place where students practice). The room was tiny, just twelve students, and Jois was able to hear each student breathing, and he would observe and instruct every detail of our daily practices. We were under the microscope. He was a true yoga master and his knowledge reached back to the beginning of the 20th century. He was strong and vital but was already in his late seventies when I first met him. When it was time to leave Mysore, when three months of daily study came to an end, I always nearly wept when I said good-bye, fearing I might never see him again. “Don’t worry,” he’d say, “you go home, you take self-practice every day, and no problem, you come back next year. I will be here.”
Home practice, or self-practice, provides a reliable platform to create the time and space (no matter how small) to focus my yoga practice. I can more easily choose how and where I place my attention. When I take a group class or teach one, there is so much to distract from the practice, beginning with maneuvering a yoga mat bag in and out of the subway, busy registration, crowded dressing rooms, lines for the bathroom, cell phones ringing, students in class who may be disruptive, or students arriving late and interrupting the teacher. Even the teacher’s voice and instructions draw the student away from the breath, from an inner focus to an outward focus.
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