As a new teacher, I spend a lot of time trying out a variety of teachers and finding people from whom to learn. I’m a bit of a studio hopper because I practice almost everywhere in SF, and when I visit a city, I’ll check out its yoga offerings. Having a breadth of teachers allows you to experience different styles, learn unique ways to cue poses, and sometimes to know ‘what not to do’.
Practicing in a group also creates a special energy that can be vibrant and thrilling. We’ve all experienced moments of energetic synergy in a yoga class. I always think, ‘you’re only as good as the person on the mat next to you’. The person next to you can change your practice for the better or worse. This is also true of life, I suppose.
Taking yoga in a class setting is wonderful because there are teachers all around you. However, one of the most advanced skills in yoga is cultivating your home practice.
Today I took an hour and thirty minutes at my studio, OMpower, to practice solo. It’s nice to have a clean empty space and a stereo to play your yoga tunes. A minimalist space really helps clear your mind. I really appreciate practicing on my own because I’m doing the poses that my body needs, with the hold times and flow that I want to do. The playlist is also my playlist. Everything is perfect.
As a metaphor for life, taking time to go solo is always a real blessing for me. I’m an outgoing person, but I’m also a bit of a loner. I enjoy solo activities, will often eat out alone, see a movie or concert alone, or even travel alone. I’ve done this since I was in my twenties.
I was once eating alone when someone walked by casually and said ‘you’re too pretty to be eating alone’. It was a passing comment and also funny, but it stuck in my mind because as people, we are always seeking validation from the world around us. Having someone willing to put up with your company for an entire meal is a form of this validation.
Solitude can be scary. Having others witness our solitude can be scarier. Eating a meal alone is no big deal, but zoom out to other alone scenarios and it can be daunting. I’m single so I sometimes wonder whether I’m comfortable here.
The flipside of this is the woman with three kids who never has a moment to herself amidst the chaos of motherhood. This picture seems scary to me too. For now, I’m grateful to have infinite opportunities for alone time and I treasure soloing.