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I is for Interruptions

Once you begin a regular yoga practice, you will find you benefit so much from the routine, the stillness it provides, the consistency, the community.  And then life will show up in one of its many forms to interrupt what you have worked for.  While in the moment, you may perceive this to be annoying, it may upset you, you may not know just when you will get back to your practice, but this is a huge turning point.  A big opportunity for growth, even if it's hard to see at that moment.  This is where you take what you’ve learned in your yoga practice and apply it to your life, on and off the mat. 

When you are interrupted by nearby sounds, can you stay present with the sound?  Can you acknowledge it and find your way back to the breath?  Stay curious and present.  How does it make you feel?  Startled or comforted?  Stay with the sensations as you find your way back to your practice.

When you’re practicing at home and your kids and/or pets are suddenly all over your mat, can you be present?  Is this an interruption or can you make this your practice?  This can mean different things to different people.  Maybe it means you introduce your kids to a few poses and get really silly.  Maybe it means you snuggle your pup.  Maybe it means you choose time for yourself to practice and ask someone for help with the kids or pets for a bit.  Find your breath and decide which reaction is your truth in the moment. 

One of the biggest and hardest interruptions to a yoga practice is a big change in health or an injury.  These situations may limit or halt your asana practice for a time.  But it doesn’t mean your yoga practice has to end.  Try to remember a yoga practice can be much deeper than the physical poses.  Sometimes your practice will root itself in truthfulness (satya), and that means being honest with what you can do physically based on limitations set by yourself or your doctor.  If you’re able to practice on the mat, use props and ask for modifications as needed.  If a physical practice is off for a time, try meditation, it’s a huge aspect of your practice and can be healing in so many ways.  I often say to my classes "if you can breathe, you can do yoga".  Use this trying time as an opportunity to become familiar with your breath and cultivate its calming effects. 

Yoga means “union” and sometimes includes union with the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, and the challenging.  Take the pressure off your asana practice and know that your mat is waiting for you when you are ready and able to return.    

How do you manage interruptions in your yoga practice?

(This is part of a series of blog installments for the A to Z Challenge.  I will be covering each letter of the alphabet as it applies to the practice of yoga, meditation, and self-inquiry.)

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