Seasons of Practice
Most people practise yoga in a group in a studio or hall, working through asanas, perhaps some chanting, mantra or meditation, often ending up with savasana and relaxation. Most people who stick with the practice feel its benefits variously as better quality of sleep, release of tension, improved quality of breath, freedom from anxiety or depression, looser joints, stronger body. An all-together more comfortable way of being.
But sometimes your life leads you away from your mat. Sometimes it is hard to get to class and the habit of home practice has not yet taken hold. Sometimes you're ill, or you're needed elsewhere. Sometimes you feel like you're not doing any yoga at all.
But once a yoga student, always a yoga student. Your yoga practice might not be taking place on your mat at the moment, but it is still taking place. Every time you remember your breath; every time you notice the natural world around you and sense your connection to it; every time you stop for a moment. The time you might take to read a book about yoga; or the five minutes you might take each day to sit quietly. When you let go of trying to control everything and try to move with the flow of life. When you pray. When you are kind to yourself and to others. When you find yourself absorbed by one thing, in the flow and totally focused. When you notice how much your asana practice brought you as you feel physical pain and tension creep back into your body.
Your mat will always be there when you are free to return to it. In the meantime find other ways to express your yoga.
"Throughout our lives we cycle through times of expansion, times of contraction, and times of being suspended in a pause or plateau where we are assimilating our experience."
Donna Farhi, Bringing Yoga to Life p.143