by Nancy Alder
Here we are: day 365 of the first year of #365yoga, the project I started January 1st of this year. I can hardly believe that 364 days later YogaDork asked me to recap what has been a truly transformative process. I have learned who supports me, I have learned on my mat, I have grown off it and have become a different kind of yogi.
When I initiated the #365yoga project with my cybersangha on Facebook andTwitter via my blog, Flying Yogini, I had no idea that so many people from all over the world would join me on the adventure. I had been teaching a boatload of yoga classes but found my own yoga practice was being sidelined. I wanted to be held accountable for practicing daily and I hoped that declaring publicly that I was going to would be the push I needed. I began to blog every day and soon others began to chronicle their daily practices as well using my hashtag: #365yoga.
Being a yoga teacher and avid practitioner I am hardly surprised that my yoga would change over the course of 365 days. Yet I was totally unprepared to discover that the majority of the yoga I practiced was off the mat. My goal to get my asana into classes has completely transformed into getting my yoga anywhere I can find it. I was able to see yoga in my elves, in my new puppy, in frustrating situations and in magic ones. Orange balloons, Maroon 5 and boiling pasta all were lessons in my growing practice as much as were the new ways I learned to enter into Kapotasana.
By the end of this year I have discovered that asana is such a small part of my practice. My yoga is, more often than not, off the mat, and in realizing this I have deepened my love for it. I have also become a better teacher and returned to that feeling of being a beginner. Rather than craving the shazaam and wowsa asanas, I am building slowly, working up to 3o minutes of meditation a day. Instead of looking to rock arm balances and pretzel poses, I am craving the quiet of Yin. I am just getting started and it has never felt more exciting!
I am so thankful for all the support and fellow travellers that have shared my mat this past year. Yogis that have allowed me to see their strength, their humor and their vulnerability just as I have shown mine to them. I have located my sangha and I learn from them with every post, comment and email I receive. They are my yoga community and have been the partners in this virtual acro yoga practice.
As I look ahead to the mat that I will use in 2012 I see myself as a brand new yoga student having only just started to scratch the surface of my practice. Thanks to the journey of 2011 I have discovered the doors opened by this practice and glimpsed what magical things may be found behind them. My blog will continue as will #365yoga so that our community can keep on keeping on with our sharing and connection. I will be posting as often as possible (hopefully daily) as a beginning yogi, sharing my discoveries whether they be brand new or merely looked at in a fresh way. I will add a hashtag for my Twitter community to share on this newbie journey (#365newbie) so others, whether they are advanced or first timers, can remember that we are always beginners. I hope to make 2012 the year of freshness so that others can be inspired in their practices as I have been in 2011.
Yesterday while playing a game called “Find-It” with my elves, my eldest discovered the elusive penny within the container. We have had these games for years and never had a single circular copper sighting. Yet, there it was sparkling and obvious for all three of us to see. I was reminded that even after looking at the same thing forever, new kernels of wonder can be found. Just like inside the middle of the game WAS that penny, at the heart of our yoga is the good stuff which we CAN find with perseverance and practice.
Rather than kissing 2011 goodbye and with it all the fabulous and horrid, I am celebrating the continued journey #365yoga has offered me and my fellow travelers. I am not making resolutions, burning papers with old memories or wishing and hoping for what will come. Instead I am singing “Don’t Stop Me Now” and am stepping back onto my mat just like I did yesterday and will do every day following. I will find that mat in the studio, in my home, with my elves or simply sitting at a red light.
I am happily hunting for the penny my practice and loving all the other things I find along the way. Join me. Join us.