Our latest #365Yoga dispatch, from the lovely, intrepid, (sweaty) yogi Darla Magee (with her pal Rose, above):
I first decided to participate in #365yoga when Nancy Alder suggested it on Twitter. I thought it would be a fun way to have something specific to tweet about and to talk to my friends about online.
I’m a yoga studio owner and yoga teacher, so probably you’re thinking that participating in something that requires me to do yoga every day is a no brain / no effort commitment. I do asana every day as part of my “job,” but #365yoga isn’t about work — for me to be challenged by a daily yoga practice I would have to take it in a different direction.
Most people in the West learn about yoga via their physical yoga (hatha) practice. If they’re fortunate they eventually come around to the spiritual side of yoga and start meditating, chanting, and studying the ancient texts.
I came to practice hatha yoga (hot as hell yoga, to be exact) a different way. I came to hatha yoga while traveling the bhakti marga (devotional path). Absolutely no disrespect to the asanas — they are my everyday activity — but to me, hatha yoga is like playtime.
What I know in my heart is that yoga, for me, is about the space in between each breath. If I was truly going to participate in #365yoga, that was where I was going to have to go. A few sun salutations a day, or even three hours of intense asana practice, wasn’t going to cut it for me. I knew I had to go deeper.
On Twitter, I jumped on the idea to use Judith Hanson Lasater’s book A Year of Living Your Yoga: Daily Practices to Shape Your Life in hopes that it would offer me ongoing guidance. I also decided to start fresh with Paramahansa Yogananda’s Spiritual Diary. Both of these little books have short daily contemplations, and both have helped me immensely in finding daily spiritual focus in the past, so I knew between the two of them I could find my yoga every day.
Themes from Lasater’s book such as Remembering the Guru, Practicing Renunciation, Honoring Yourself, Challenging Your Thoughts, and Chanting the Names of God have helped guide my devotional practice. I think these are the type of practices people are talking about when they say such things as: “Today, my yoga is laying on the couch” or “Today, my yoga is playing with my children.” I think the key part of calling everyday activities “yoga” is remembering to connect them to spirit, and honoring spirit within the everyday.
#365yoga has been a sweet blessing for me. I like being accountable for my spiritual growth and development. I guess we are all held accountable, eventually, but I’m loving the way honoring my commitment to my yoga tweeps is bringing me closer to God and to them.
It’s not too late to join the discussion here, on Twitter (#365yoga, @yogadork, @sarahkohl, @yoga_mydrishti, @sweatydarla, and of course Judith Hanson Lasater at @judithyoga) or by following along with the #365yoga blogs – Sarahsana.wordpress.com, Flyingyogini.wordpress.com, Darlateachesyoga.wordpress.com.