Friday, March 09, 2012

An Evolving Yoga Practice

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed a shift. Instead of waking up and looking forward to a morning run, I've been forcing myself to put on my sneaker and hit the road. This has nothing to do with the weather - it's gorgeous in North Carolina right now, perfect running conditions - and nothing to do with my fitness level - I've been running less but cross-training more, and I think I might just be in the best shape of my life. It seems the cause of my running ennui is that lately, all I want to do is yoga.

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I've always loved yoga and have been practicing fairly consistently for the last six seven years. (Whoa. Times flies!) During those years, I've practiced anywhere from once a week to four times a week, and usually as a form of exercise secondary to something I considered "harder" or "more exciting," such as roller derby or running. For many years, I thought of yoga as beneficial to my body, because it stretched me out, kept me flexible, and quieted my mind. I never practiced yoga simply for the sake of yoga - it was always about what yoga could do for me, how it could help other, more important, areas of my life. 

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Lately, though, I find myself wanting to practice yoga more often, five or six times a week. And not because I want to be a faster runner, or because I need to learn to slow down and relax. Because I just really love yoga. This concept might seem hard to understand, because I'm only just starting to figure it out myself. It might seem like the reasons I love yoga are precisely because of what it does for me. That the benefits have led to the love. But it's not as simple as that.

Lately, I love yoga first, just for being yoga. The benefits are secondary. Appreciated, but not my reason for going in the first place. My yoga practice is becoming less selfish, more giving. The shift is subtle, but it's there and it feels important and it's something I feel driven to embrace and explore. 

I've also been thinking of going through yoga teacher training. The Wilmington Yoga Center offers a course in the summer that I could easily complete. It's expensive and I don't have the money or the time to do it this year, but maybe next summer, before my last year of school and after the wedding hoopla is over. I've enjoyed teaching creative writing, and I think I would enjoy teaching yoga just as much, if not more. Not as a career, but as something that brings me happiness and deepens my practice. Right now this is just the seed of an idea, and I have a while to see if it will take root and grow into something. But I'm excited to feel this way about yoga, and eager to see where it will take me.