I did home practice several times this week instead of going to the shala for Mysore practice. Part of this had to do with scheduling. I’ve had early meetings at my internship, and driving to the shala takes time.
But part of me also feels that in the Mysore room, my recent struggles have been a bit distracting to fellow practitioners who are trying to focus on their own practice. Sometimes, there’s a lot of whining, maybe even some crying, and it all feels very personal and selfish to be exposing myself in this way in a room full of people. Other times, knowing I’m in a room full of people holds me back from experiencing an emotion I am struck with on the mat.
So I decided that until I could get myself together and do my full practice without bitching and moaning, I would have to practice at home. Sometimes, it’s nice to practice alone as a reminder that I’m practicing for no one but myself. Additionally, being able to go back to the shala was really good incentive to clean things up. Earning the right to practice there made the space feel more sacred.
By the end of the week, I returned to the shala. I had two solid practices with my teacher on Thursday and Friday. We even practiced Mysore style drop-backs and tried catching for the first time in weeks.
I guess I’m learning that it’s important to check in with your teacher as often as you can, but that home practice does have it’s own importance within the Ashtanga Yoga method. Some days, I need to be soothed by the soft lighting and breath sounds that fill the Mysore room. But other days, I do enjoy a candle-lit practice in the cramped space of my bedroom, where I can tune into the sound of only my own breath.
You can’t always rely on the guidance of your teacher to get you through difficult parts of your practice, just like you can’t rely on anyone else to get you through difficult parts of your life.