This month, I’ve decided to answer some of the frequently asked questions. Today’s topic is my yoga practice!
When and how did I take up yoga?
I landed up in my first yoga class thanks to my mother. Come to think of it, it was thanks to my brothers! They talked my mother into going to yoga and she asked me to go along. Back then, I was in high school, almost 11 years ago. I said yes and I landed up in a neighborhood gym, in the Paris area, for my first yoga class ! I did gymnastics as a child, therefore I was somewhat flexible. But I hadn’t practiced in a while. Since I had quit gymnastics, I dabbled in tennis, dance, judo… But this time it was different. I reconnected with my body ! There was no sudden realization. There was no revelation. But each week I kept going to yoga class with my mother.
As I transitioned from high school to university, I kept practicing more or less regularly, but I never stopped. Then, in 2012, after my Master’s degree, I decided to go to Canada. There, I couldn’t afford classed so I discovered online practice. I was following Youtube videos and my practice got more intense. When I could afford a gym membership, I would attend some yoga classes at the gym. It wasn’t the most thorough practice, but it allowed me to discover an array of different practices with all the instructors, both online and in person.
One thing is sure : in Canada my practice became steady and I realized it was part of my daily life.
When did I decide that it would become my job ?
When I came back from Canada in 2014, my practice became more intense. In early 2015, I started working in logistics again, and I got back into the Parisian pace : I worked long hours, I felt like I constantly had to do more to keep up with the workload, I got little sleep and I would start all over again the next day.
Over the next two years, I felt less and less connected to the professional environment I was in and increasingly connected to the values held by yoga. At that point, yoga had earned a major role in my everyday life. I realized that my practice had been one of the most regular fixtures in my life over the previous years, even when I moved across the pond, changed jobs, came back to France… So in 2016, I decided to change things up : ‘I’m quitting this job by the end of the year !’
And that’s what I did. Then, I started my transition. I enrolled in a training course, I started teaching friends and family ! I trained in early 2017 and I taught my first classes while I still worked on the side (I had changed job). For a year and a half, I gradually filled my schedule with yoga classes, I started working 4 days a week, and I taught classes nights and weekends. And then last year,I took the leap ! Since the summer of 2018, I split my time between teaching yoga and a project of shared values of sustainable living (Get in the know right there: La Maison SaJ’).
What does my practice look like today ?
I’m often asked : do you practice every day ? Do you get up at dawn to practice ? How long ? And so on.
Yes, I do practice almost every day. I mean ‘practice’ in the broad sense of the word because it’s not the same every day.
Here’s how I start my day at home. Upon rising, I take the time to move, stretch, take a few deep breaths and visualize the day ahead. Then, I scrape the overnight bacteria buildup off my tongue with a tongue-scraper, I wash my mouth with
coconut sesame oil (since I know it’s better for my Ayurvedic constitution), and I drink a cup of warm water with lemon and ginger. Then, I sit and meditate for a while and set an intention for the day. Whatever comes next depends on my schedule. If I have an early class, I don’t do much else. But if I don’t have class until noon, then I take the time to write in my meditation journal and I include an asana practice (physical practice). The duration of my practice depends on the time I have. For instance, when I prepare my classes for the week ahead (usually Sundays or Mondays) it takes a bit more time.
Then in the evening, it depends on my mood: when my body requires it, I indulge in a short Yin Yoga session to loosen up my body, clear my head, let go of the tension of the day (yes, my days can be stressful even though I’m a yoga instructor 😉). I meditate at night if I skipped it in the morning, of if I just feel like it. Usually, before I fall asleep, I try to find at least three things in my day that I’m grateful for.
And then some days I get up too late, I don’t have much time, I have deadlines, appointments, etc. On those days, I forgo my morning meditation and physical practice. I can ‘catch up’ in the evening, if I have the desire and the energy. I’ll admit, sometimes my bed is has more pull than my yoga mat ! On those days, my practice is as simple as taking a few breaths with my eyes closed on the train, eating a meal in mindfulness, or having a 30 minutes mindful walk from a yoga class to an appointment (See ‘The miracle of mindfulness’ from Thich Nhat Hanh where you can learn more about mindfulness). I wrote an article on my journey of meditation, you can find it here.
Above all, I think yoga is listening to yourself and doing what feels good. One thing for sure, whichever form of yoga I practice, I never force myself.
There you have it. You know it all now! What does you practice look like? I’m eager to know, tell me more!