How to practice alone
I’m afraid of the dark. I still run for the bed after turning off the lights at night. The bed is safe. Under the covers, I’m protected. Maybe I watched Gremlins, or Jaws, or It and they left an impression that plays out every time the lights go out until I’m safe in bed?
The point is I’m a grown man. I shouldn’t be afraid of the dark, but I am. And only at night. At 4am when I’m stumbling around to the shower before practice, the darkness doesn’t bother me. I have no fear at 4am. I’m not thinking enough to be afraid. At 4 am I operate on autopilot.
The first 10 minutes of my practice is on autopilot.
Samasthiti. Ekam, Inhale.
So how do you program your autopilot?
- Calculate your heading
- Input heading into drive computer
- Press start
That’s fine if you are a sailboat with a Raymarine Autohelm. I wish I had one of these. It would make life a little easier.
But life is messy. There are kids, appointments, emails, reports, bills, shopping, etc. Life comes at us fast. And faster with internet updates 5.0.X. There is hardly any time to get things done, let alone enough time to work on ourselves. To work on being alone.
How do you carve out time to practice? How do you practice . . . alone?
”We are meant to be in relationships with other people, but, just as surely, we are meant to partake of aloneness. To deny this part of our existence is a little like trying to walk the earth on one foot instead of two." Florence Falk
The Shala in Mysore with 80+ students all practicing at the same time is intense. The walls are dripping sweat, they feel like they are breathing, and 80+ people are one. That same feeling of being one is replicated and diluted in the many shala’s around the world with 6 to 60 students practicing at the same time.
But does it dilute too much when there are only 3 students? What about 1? Alone.
I’ve never felt alone except when in a big group of people.
I’m introverted. Being alone recharges my batteries. I feel awkward in large social groups. Groups over 6 are overwhelming and I feel like I’m doing something wrong by not making small talk with everyone in the room, but that would A) be impossible and B) overload my systems and I’d stammer on like Rain Man.
That’s part of my attraction to Mysore. There is a large group of people, but I don’t have to talk or interact with anyone. We come in and leave at different times, often never talking to anyone. It’s kind of special that way.
So if we are practicing correct method; breathing, dristi, posture, then it doesn’t matter if we are with 5 or 50 students. Or even ALONE.
"Yoga is a relationship with myself, breath, strength and devotion." - Mario
The time you have alone (whether in a group practicing or alone) during practice is therapy. Make use of it!
- Are you complaining during practice? Have you questioned why? When did it start? Why do you feel that way?
- Have you laughed at yourself? If you are not falling you are not learning. (And falling is usually funny)
- Take care of your body. Give extra attention to where you need it.
If you are fortunate to have a teacher and a shala close to where you live, than you are lucky. The difficult part will be carving out the time to practice with a busy schedule. If you live where there isn’t a teacher or studio close to where you live, the hard part is the same. Carving out time to practice.
If you are a new student, then I encourage you to seek out a teacher and visit them as often as you can, and explain your situation to them. OR EMAIL ME
If you are practicing alone join a Facebook, or Reddit, internet community. Interact with them and ask questions, support others who are in your same boat (with a Raymarine Autohelm) traveling to the same heading.
If you are having trouble finding the motivation to practice. Practice. Motivation will come.
You can read 100 self-help books, listen to Ted-talks until you use up all your internet data and it doesn’t make a difference until you decide to get up and take action.
Ashtanga Nurse Rx: