Asanas On Autopilot

June 18, 2015

Inspiration From Nature, Self-Improvement

Asanas On Autopilot by Devon Domanski.

In my last blog I talked about starting the first section of my yoga teacher training. With each module, my peers and I are encouraged to take deeper dives into our learning, our practice, and ourselves, and it’s funny how an 8-day intensive is enough time to have some really profound stuff go down.

This last module was an emotional roller coaster – navigating through highs, lows, thrills & uncertainty – but I walked away feeling appropriately overwhelmed, and ultimately exhilarated! But before all that heavy stuff happened – which I’ll likely share more about once I wrap up my training – I shared this story with my peers on the first day back…

When I finished the first module, I was determined to work on getting to know my asanas (poses) better. And not necessarily HOW to do them as much as WHAT to call them. Despite going to 100’s of class collectively over the last 15+ years, I realized that I was not able to easily execute a pose when a teacher cued it during practice or visualize it when it was mentioned in discussion – without seeing others doing it, I was less confident in myself. I couldn’t believe that! Really? How could I not know after all this time? What have I been doing on the mat? Don’t things like this just kinda absorb into your subconscious over time, so that one day when it matters, you can just hit the RECALL button and your rolodex of information pops up in your mind’s eye? Sadly, I discovered the answer to that one was a big, fat NOPE!

It occurred to me that when I showed up for classes, a lot of times, I wasn’t really ‘showing up.’ I wasn’t preparing myself to be as present as I could be; I didn’t articulate what I wanted or aimed to focus on during practice, and instead just followed along with everyone else, going through the motions. This surprised me. I wasn’t mad at myself though – WOW… that’s progress! – I just noticed the behaviour (because I’m still going to celebrate the fact that I chose to spend time on my mat, and that’s something in itself!), decided what I needed to do differently, and committed to improving. This realization has greatly improved my personal practice, and how I ’show up’ for a class.

Had I have used some of those past classes to check in with myself, commit to an intention, and let my inner voice be heard, I may be further ahead in my present journey, but that realization was really powerful and important for me to acknowledge. It helped me realize how I can do better, and encouraged me to ask myself, “Are there other aspects of my life I’m just living in autopilot? What do I say to remind myself to take it all in?”

It’s safe to say this point was the junction in which my Mindfulness Meditation experience and Yoga Teacher Training collided, resulting in a little mantra for myself: Notice. Celebrate. Adjust. Improve. I need to remember that my voice matters. Whether I’m speaking audibly in conversation, or checking in with my inner voice, the things I say should be thoughtfully considered, and the way we talk to ourselves is as important as how we talk to others.

Your voice matters too, so what do you have to say to yourself, and what would you like to say to others? Is there something you’re BUSTING at the seams to say? Allow yourself the release; GO FOR IT!