“Enjoy Your Practice”


Enjoy Your Practice

Another three little words that packs a powerful punch.

As a student myself, I have surely heard these words before from the mouths of other teachers who I’ve taken class with, at least one, I’m sure of. And for me, it’s a most natural follow up to the opening chant, along with “ohayou gozaimas” or good morning these last couple of months.

I left Osaka yesterday with a happy heart, knowing that this little reminder to find ease and joy in one’s practice is part of my contribution to this inspired and inspiring yoga community in Japan.

It’s so plain, it’s so simple, and yet sometimes really easily forgotten. We must be in joy-fullness as we practice. Without it, it’s an exercise in struggle. The attitude we bring into the practice dictates how our yoga practice takes shape.

Even when it’s hard, even when there’s struggle, the joy is always there, always waiting to be discovered, to be experienced, this blissful feeling, a jewel in the rough.

Photo taken with me and some of the students early Tuesday morning before my departure at the studio in Osaka. 

Breathing with Sound


Breathing with Sound

Ashtanga, Guruji used to say, is a breathing practice.

Yesterday, the sound of the breath just drew me into the practice, the pulsation of the inhale and the exhale, the sacred moment of silence as the gap in between is naturally observed.

It was not even my own practice, but those of the students around me. It was not even my own breath, not in the beginning.

But it tugged at me until I, too, was breathing that barely audible sound of air slowly passing through the throat.

Together we were a chorus of sound made up of different paces, different qualities, different syncopations. Some were fast, while others were slow. Some had heavy billowing breaths, while others had soft or shallow breaths.

For me, as I kept my watch over mysore class, I felt the room. For others, they felt their bodies, the postures, or even more subtle internal energies.

Call it ujaii, breathing with sound, Darth Vader’s softer cousin… What it’s called doesn’t matter as much as what it does, this sound track of practice.