Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Do You Motivate Yourself to Practice?

Following Monday's post, there were so many awesome comments from so many awesome people (yes, we're Ashtangis and we're all a little bit intense. Deal with it, thanks!), that I have been thinking more about the state of my practice. (Thinking about my practice? No shit, Sherlock!)

I mean... Now that I'm back in the Dam and coasting along at work (it's the calm before the next big storm), I'm trying to build a routine into this new apartment I've moved into too. And of course, when you talk about routine, the Ashtanga yoga practice figures pretty prominently, right? (HAHA.)

I've been trying a home practice out. I was totally inspired by my practice at the shala in London last month, so I figured I'd ride that wave back here. Unfortunately, the moment I came back to the Dam, I twisted my foot and then had to modify like crazy in order to keep practicing.

Needless to say, it has been quite the struggle. The foot is still not 100%. I can pretty much do most standing poses now, except Utthita Hasta Padangustasana while standing on the left foot (the arch still hurts a bit), and I can't do any lotus poses where the outer top part of the left foot needs to be stretched. UHP is starting to hurt less on the left foot, and I tried it with full extended right leg yesterday, but was WOBBLING LIKE CRAZY. It was like being a beginner all over again.

Practice has started to feel MORE AND MORE like a struggle these days. I guess it's a combination of practicing at home, practicing with a busted foot AND practicing in colder weather. The sun isn't up till 8am these days, so it's HARD to roll out of a toasty bed into the cold and dark living room.

My Sydney teacher used to say "Guruji said if you start your practice in the winter, you will have your practice for life."

It's so true!! The eff-ing freezing cold is such a deterrent.

Hence... You can see why I've been thinking about my practice, right? How to get myself motivated. I'm thinking it's something as simple as: I need to get me to a shala already.

The new-ish ashtanga shala that opened here a few months ago has morning Mysore classes, but as they only have them on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I initially wasn't interested coz... Well... I LIKE MY ROUTINE! What am I supposed to do on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays? Yes, yes, practice at home right? ...At the time, it just didn't seem like the ideal scenario to break up shala and home practices on alternate days.

Now... this idea is more and more appealing, just coz I think I'm at the point now where I need a teacher to motivate me, aka: give me an ass-whooping. HA! Not really... But I miss getting adjustments. I miss the group energy. I miss having an experienced eagle-eye push you just that little bit further, taking you somewhere you never thought was possible before. It's hard to find that in a home practice - you either over-do it or not do enough. And at some point, I feel a little bit lost. I mean... Hello? I've been at Laghuvajrasana for like 10 months now? Sometimes, you are your own best teacher, but sometimes you need a little guidance.

You know how for some people motivation to get on the mat comes in the form of buying a new mat, new yoga clothes or towels or other kinds of paraphernalia? Whatever it takes to get you on that mat. But this time, my motivation to get me to the shala is the most random thing. A rain-suit.

Y'know. Beyond the raincoat, a rain-suit is made up of ugly rain pants and a poncho on top. The Dutch all have one to get around on their bikes in the rain. Sometimes they also carry an umbrella while cycling (this is where having only back-brakes on the pedals comes in handy - no hand-brakes to manouver!)

I have been resisting buying one, purely from an aesthetic point-of-view. They're ugly. Which is kinda stupid coz in the winter it rains even more here than it does in London, and the kind of rain I'm talking about is really like that French phrase: "Il pleut comme un vache qui pisse." (And if you've been to a cow farm, you'll know where that phrase comes from!)

Seriously... Look at this week's weather forecast:

The thought of having to cycle through the cold, dark rain at 6am to get to the shala is giving me the heebyjeebies. (No wonder morning mysore isn't a popular choice here at all!)

Now I also have to work up the nerve to get that FUGLY rain-suit.

The things we do for yoga.



  1. A shala opened!!! Now that is MORE than good luck, to me that feels like a SIGN... Yes yes and yes... I would sooo go for it, then again, sorry I am totally projecting... But my feeling is that very soon they will have the 6xweek thing going, I have a hunch that tells me that people from Amsterdam will love the Mysore thing, and it will pick up quickly .... Time will tell... What is the name of the studio by the way?

  2. Oh dear I can't believe you're buying one of those rain suits! Post pics once you get one, please. :-)

  3. welcome to my world & sorry you're here.
    well not exactly, as you do have a shala option and I don't waah waah waah.
    I try not to waste too much time wondering what I and my practice would be like with regular support and guidance. And I definitely struggle at times with motivation. I try to get to a teacher at least once every few months, but that means traveling, taking time off, etc.
    I do - almost always - get on the mat, but sometimes have to reeeeaallyy coax myself all the way through. And not always successfully. Whereas if I were surrounded by other Ashtangis, and had a teacher roaming around, I don't think I'd dare give up. And there's the morphic field to help, too. But - this is my world and I'm grateful for all that I learn on my mat, including my own limitations. Ahimsa
    Agree with Dom: you *must* post photos when you get your rain gear!

  4. Claudia - you're right. If more people go and ask for it, maybe they'll continue with mysore classes on Tue/ Thu/ Sun too. It's this one: They're not authourized/ certified teachers and er... to be honest, I was being a bit snobby about it at first. Oops. But fuckit, who cares? A teacher's a teacher. (An old teacher of mine who is authorized once said: as long as the teacher has a daily, regular practice, that's what counts. So what if he/ she is certified or authourized? At the time I thought "easy for you to say, you're authourized already!" HA.)

    Dom - I had every intention of sucking it up and buying said Fugly suit today. BUT... They're SOLD OUT!! ALL OVER!! I think the Universe is telling me: Nuh-uh. Purchase of ugly things is not allowed. HAHA. So now, I will be drenched. I don't even own an umbrella.

    Fran - R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to you for doing a home practice for so long. It's HARD WORK! Always so happy to hear when you're off on a workshop though. Are you gonna do NG in Hawaii? :) :) :)

  5. Sorry Claudia - I meant to say that he said "so what if he/ she is NOT authourized".

  6. Thanks, Jaime, cybershala support makes a huge difference to me! much gratitude to you, my friend. I'm dreaming of Maui in April, but waiting to see if my girl wants to come, and how finances look over the next couple months. I'm teaching a couple of big workshops in a few weeks, so if those go well, I should be set.

  7. Dear Jaime
    I rely on my rain suit, even to keep warm. I was going to say with pride that it was made in the US, since it has an Eddy Bauer brand logo and I bought it at Target. So I checked the label. No, it's made in , badumpa, China. haha.

  8. Fran - good luck with the workshops!

    Arturo - I walked into a store today to finally buy that rain suit. But. They only had Large size available. And a "Dutch Large" - the pants came up to my boobs. AND! On top of that, it cost 30 Euros. SERIOUSLY?!? That's quite a bit for a plastic suit that doesn't fit that I don't even like. I didn't get it in the end. Pfffft. The hunt continues...

  9. Pictures of you in the rain suit when you finally get it please.

    I dropped off my visa application today. They keep your passport and send it back WITH your visa. WTF????

  10. Hey LiAsh! Yup - they do that sometimes. I've had to leave my passport at the various embassies/ immigration authorities when getting my work visas done for the places I've lived in. So kinda sorta expecting it for this too. BUT... because they seem a bit more disorganized, it's bit of a nail-biting experience!


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