The practice of yoga is a constant journey and evolution. This blog is about experiencing and learning through the journey. There are countless opportunities for discovery, challenge, enjoyment and comic relief. It’s a journey that will never end, always a Yogini in Progress. Enjoy the journey!

Friday, April 29, 2011


It's easy to get caught up in the current of life. Going through the day, blindly running through a to-do list just to get things done, because they are expected, because that is the routine. There are so many demands; spouse, kids, home, work and committees to name a few. And then there are all of the wonderful distractions; television, facebook and smartphones. Purpose can easily get lost in the shuffle.
Intention can really make a difference. When you act with deliberate thought, effort and purpose, it shows. Think of the times you received that perfect gift that you did not even know you wanted or would love, deliberate thought was behind that gift. When you put together a meal from scratch with healthy, fresh ingredients it just tastes better and fills the soul as well as the belly, effort was put into that meal. When you participate in a well-planned meeting with direction and energy it's amazing the teamwork you can cultivate and what you can accomplish together, a purpose was shared.

Intention can be nurtured and honed on the yoga mat. At most classes, the teacher will instruct you to set your intention, focus on it and return to it throughout your asana practice. Why are you there? What do you need? What can you contribute? When you are new to yoga, there is so much to learn and get comfortable with and intention is no different. It always helps me when teachers encourage intention and go a step further to suggest a few.

I am strong. I am balanced. I am grace. I am peace. I am love.

Broader intentions can be incorporated to your practice as well. Consider dedicating your practice to someone or something as you would a prayer. Dedicate your practice for someone who is unable to. Dedicate your practice for the healing of a community in pain or conflict. Dedicate your practice to mother earth or father creator. Intention and dedication can add meaning and depth to your practice of yoga on and off the mat.

When intention becomes a regular part of your asana practice it easily begins to seep into other areas of your life. Instead of being caught up in the current of life you act with deliberate thought, effort and purpose. Intention.

What intentions do you invoke during your practice? How have you noticed intentions enhancing your life off the mat?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What, No Medals?!?!?!

I am a very competitive person. Throughout my life, I’ve participated in a variety of sports; gymnastics, swimming, diving, soccer, dance team, softball, track, golf, karate and others. I like to do well and I love to win. This desire is not confined to the sporting world. At work, at play, whatever the pursuit, I like to excel. And, I know I’m not alone.

How does this relate to yoga? Like many people I originally approached yoga as a purely physical pursuit. It was a great way to exercise, stay fit and provide balance to an otherwise intense physical routine. I would regularly go to class and treat my practice as a competition with everyone in the room. My focus was on my performance compared to theirs. If a practitioner “did better” than I did on the mat, it was a reminder that I needed to try harder, push further and compete more. Regardless of where I should be practicing, I would many times take it too far based on my fellow competitors, I mean practitioners.

It took me many years to realize that the physical expression of asana was only one part of yoga and really no place for competition. A couple of years ago I had an “aha!” moment. The softening of motherhood, the reminders to “check your ego at the door”, and a better understand of the beauty of yoga being more than just a physical practice created this epiphany.

I turned my focus inward. What did my mind and spirit need, want, and yearn for? Not just my body. What was available to me based on my emotions, energy and physical ability? How was I servicing my whole self? When I stopped competing and started experiencing, my practice grew by leaps and bounds. Personal understanding, openness to meditation and harmony of mind, body and spirit replaced the need or desire to win. I was really able to appreciate the other yogis and their practice.

When I see another’s asana practice that is “better” than mine, I am still intrigued. But, now I can approach it, not as a competitive challenge, but with appreciation for their practice, their expression, their journey and their yoga.

How have you taken competition out of your practice? What is one of your “aha!” moments?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Driving Under the Influence of Savasana

Sometimes I wonder if I should drive home after an evening candlelight yoga class. I emerge from the studio under the euphoria of a great savasana, a little bit tipsy to be honest. It takes a lot of motivation to be focused enough to make the meager five minute drive home. Should I even be driving? I will do my part to be more alert on the trek home.

The bigger question is, why are my evening savasanas more fulfilling, successful, complete than others? My suspicion is that there are multiple factors that come to work here. The length of the class, it's at the end of a tiring day, and my guard and control are relaxed. These all make it eaiser to really experience the rest, the bliss, the refueling benefits of savasana. It is so much easier to let the thoughts float by, ignore to do lists and nagging thoughts in the evening.

Like all parts of yoga, sometimes the practice of savasana clicks and sometimes it doesn't. With asanas or poses, sometimes you can explore more deeply and fully than before and sometimes you have to back off, based on what's available to you that day. The practice of savasana is no different.

So, how do I find this release in my daytime practice? I need to find a way to surrender to the practice and to the mat when the sun is high and the candles are packed away. But, then again, maybe I'll have to worry about driving home during the day.

What works for you?