The Magic Seed
Kimber Simpkins, Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher
Your yoga practice is a seed. What kind of seed it is, you get to decide. Maybe it’s a fragile orchid, or a wild arugula sprout, or maybe it’s a hardy, rampant squash that takes over the garden. Whatever you imagine the seed of your practice to be, how do you plan to support its growth and let it flourish this year?
When I started my yoga practice many years ago, my back hurt all the time, my body felt weak and inflexible, and “unpromising” seemed a bit optimistic for the tiny seed I found myself caring for. But years later, with much tending, pruning, and weathering of storms, my yoga has grown into a flourishing tree in whose shade I find peace and whose fruit nourishes me and many others.
The tastiest fruit of my yoga practice isn’t any of the outer things you’d think (a healthy body, playful arm balances, clothes you can sleep in), but something subtle and infinitely more worthwhile: a small decrease in my reactivity and increase in my resilience.
What does this really mean? That when things don’t go my way, I’m less likely to point the finger of blame at someone nearby or at myself in the mirror. When I get knocked over, I can pick myself up, laugh a bit at the tumble I took, smile with love remembering everyone ends up on their bum sometimes, and get back to watering my seeds.
We learn early on that seeds need soil, water, and sunlight. Fortunately, there are many ways to nourish the seed of your yoga practice that don’t involve burying yourself in mud and waiting for the sun to come out. (Though if you’ve ever been to the mud baths in Calistoga, you know that option is not necessarily a bad one.) Here are some ideas:
1. Commit to your regular yoga practiceWrite it into your calendar every week, maybe more than once! Schedule with a friend to meet them at class, then go out for tea afterwards.
2. Start a home practiceWatch videos or get a practice sequence from a book or teacher, get out your mat, and let your dog teach you how a downward facing dog is really done.
3. Take your yoga off the matRemind yourself daily of the inspiration you’ve received from your yoga practice. Make little post-it notes to inspire your heart and mind even when you can’t get to class.
4. Join an ImmersionIf you’re ready to make a significant leap in your practice, commit to an Anusara Immersion and put your practice on the front burner. Or going with the seed metaphor, give it a big helping of delicious organic compost! An Immersion is a great way to give your practice the attention it deserves and grow your yoga community at the same time.
There are lots of ways to grow and deepen your practice… let me know what others you’ve found. May your practice become the garden of your dreams in 2012, blessings.