Your Relationship with your Yoga Practice, by Ella Isakov
Thirteen years ago I began my longest relationship to date, the one steady constant in my life, my relationship with yoga. For the first couple of years it was casual, mostly flirting now and then when opportunity arose. Then when I moved back to Canada from overseas, I decided to give it a real go, and the rest is history as they say.
It was a love affair like no other. Being an ashtangi, we spent several hours together each day, and it wasn’t always pretty, happy or kind, but it was always real. Some days were a challenge to get on the mat, and others days I felt like a superhero, like I could do and overcome anything. My yoga practice has been there for me through it all, good times and bad times, holding space for my sweat and tears without judgement or asking me to be any different from how I was on that day. It gave me strength to stand and show up when all I wanted to do was wallow and hide. This strength held space for me to open to softness, to face old wounds and trauma. I found myself creating space within, shedding the layers of protection around my heart, shifting the self-sabotaging thoughts, slowly making peace with who I am. Yoga has been my one constant these past ten years, and the relationship has only gotten deeper, more compassionate and forgiving, showing me the way to true love with the most important person: myself.
As I grow and evolve, my practice follows and evolves with me. The love affair is still strong, if not stronger. I have expanded my practice to include Restorative yoga, Yoga Tune-Up practice and mobility and strength training. It is all yoga.
As we change, our practice changes with us; that is what makes this relationship unique. The choices we make along the way are key to maintaining sustainability and vitality.
Some of the questions to consider when making decisions about your practice:
Is your practice serving the needs of your body, heart and mind?
Are your choices made out of attachment to an outcome to what was or what you want it to be?
Are you practicing for yourself and your greater well-being?
Are external factors guiding your decisions?
Yoga will be by your side no matter what leads your choices. There will be no judgement or blame. It will hold you no matter what, all you have to do is show up. Yoga will be your greatest teacher if you open up to it, and to yourself. It will lead you to softness and self-acceptance, presence and grounding, and all those emotions wrapped in fear within the depth of your heart.
Your yoga practice can be the most profound life changing relationship if you allow it to take you deeper within yourself, enabling you to step into your own power in full acceptance of your light and dark, knowing you do not have to carry it all. Allow your true authentic essence to come forth. As with any relationship, depth and openness to intimacy create a lifelong bond that will be by your side no matter what.
Ella Isakov is a student of life, yoga teacher and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She is in love with breath, movement, stillness, and the written word. She yearns for a world where people are truly seen, vulnerability is part of everyday human experience, and no one feels alone. She vows to live each day with a conscious intention to inspire, be kind and loving, with a dash of laughter, and to share her passion of yoga and healing with the little beings and ones young at heart. ellaisakov.com ellaisakov.com