living yoga everyday
I wish I could say that I have a set routine for living out a yogic lifestyle. Every single day while there are definite constants, as a parent and full time yoga teacher, there are far more variables to contend with. When I focus on what I can accomplish within reason, I’m far more content and that energy spills over to my boys, 9 and 5, who see the raw me. The me who wears sweats and fuzzy socks year round, keeps up with music via NPR in the car and far-away friends in Asia on skype, cleans mounds and mounds of endless laundry and never cleans out a closet, does handstands (in lieu of afternoon coffee) and cooks only when it’s required. (Let’s just say smoothies and whole wheat noodles are staples in our household.)
The intention of my life/practice is merely to keep the variables in balance. When I am going to have a very Yin-like day with no classes or carpools scheduled, I make time for Yang practice. One that will prod me to my edge and yet still give me enough energy to carry out a calm day. To take it further, once a week, as a family, we clean our slates. No yoga classes, no after school activities, and no commitments. We try our best to keep this time uncommon. Even my son tells me how special this day is to him. He feels like the other days are so crammed that this one day (only one!) is when he can explore outside, play or do nothing, and I can be available and open to whatever the day brings.
On my Yang days with multiple classes or travel, making just a little time to move, twist and pray, helps me stay connected to myself so that I have more to pour into others. Any time at all (5 minutes or longer), I consider a success. When I hold expectations to these busy days, I tend to beat myself up over “failed” time. Learning that I can breathe and bend in the bathroom while getting ready (it does count!). Pray or listen to a Sutra lesson (Svadhyaya, self-study) while I’m driving. Or, sometimes just for a moment, sit in my unkempt closet or car, away from the computer and kids. Quietly sitting and breathing. A few splendid minutes sometimes is all I need to clear my thoughts and refresh my mind.
If I’ve heard any advise that I hold as gospel, it’s in a week’s time, am I getting an equal amount of challenge and nourishment? Balancing these two brings my life and my practice in sync. They become so intertwined and rooted, that even my kids notice a difference. And, to me, that’s what matters.
Where and how do you find that everyday balance?
Melissa Smith, 500 RYT Leeann Carey Yoga Mentor & Teacher Trainer
Melissa trained 200 RYT (350 hours) from Inspyrayoga in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2005 where Melissa specialized in pre/post natal for over 3 years. Moving back to the US, Melissa’s grown in her practice and training by earning her 500 RYT and blogging about her experiences as a student and teacher at www.graceyogaandpilates.com.
Melissa began teaching Group Fitness 20 years ago while attending Texas A&M. After a Marketing degree and an adventurous corporate career, she took time off to be Mom of 2 cool boys who keep her busy running carpools to sports, choir & more. She’s lived and traveled all over the US and most recently lived abroad in Malaysia. A speaker and advocate for research for a non-profit Alzheimer’s Group.