Solitary Practice

I think I have mentioned before that my yoga practice is Ashtanga.  I chose it for a variety of reasons one of which is that there is a series of poses that you do each time you practice and once you have learned the series of poses it is very feasible to practice outside of a studio and away from a teacher.  I still prefer to practice at a studio (Yoga is Youthfulness aka YIY) with teachers that know my practice and are ever so helpful with adjustments and information on how to tackle whatever pose I am working on.  In the last couple of weeks, I have had an early class to teach which interferes with me going to the studio to practice so I have had some time to explore this solitary practice.

This practice is completely different than when I practice with others.  First, it requires far more discipline.  At YIY, I know that if I decide to cop out on my practice half way through Anne will come around ask what is wrong and when I have nothing really to say, instruct me to get my bum moving (in the nicest possible way!).  At home, no one keeps me moving through my practice.  However, I find that it is much easier to just get lost in the practice.  No one interrupts my practice and the house is quiet so I can just be myself in my yoga.

I can hear my own breath very clearly and it has a way of lulling myself into a rhythm.  I also notice that my breath slows down.  My inhales are longer as are my exhales which leads me to stay in poses longer than I would normally.  The room is colder so I don’t sweat as much.  The temperature in the room at YIY is cause for much discussion among Ashtangis.  It is a bit harder to get going when the room is colder, but I find once I warm up, I enjoy the fact that I am not dripping sweat.  The sweat doesn’t interfere with my practice that way.  Can you tell that I am one of the ones arguing for the room being a bit cooler as opposed to warmer?   When I am finished I can quickly shower and get on with my day.  However, I have to say that one serious downside is that there is no chai afterwards unless I make it, which doesn’t normally happen.  That is a serious downside!  To finish out this otherwise somewhat serious post, I will include my recipe for homemade chai.

The following measurement will make one cup of chai. I find that one cup is never enough for me so I always make two cups.

½ c. fresh mint (chocolate mint is super tasty)
grated ginger
lemon grass
1 t. sugar or agave
sprinkle in to taste (use the whole spice):

black pepper
½ c. milk
1 t. loose leaf black tea

Put the water and sugar or agave in a small saucepan on the stove. Grate in ginger, put in mint leaves, cut up lemon grass to taste and sprinkle in the rest of the spices. The ginger will make it spicy so be careful how much you put in if this is an issue for you. Bring this to a boil. Then add in tea. Let the tea leaves boil for a couple of seconds in the water and then add in the milk. Turn down burner and let the milk heat up slowly. When the milk begins to boil, turn off the heat and put the lid on for two minutes. Then drain the tea through a fine colander and serve. This also works quite lovely if you make a larger batch in the morning and save a cup for the afternoon. Many thanks to one of my best friends Aarti’s mom, Mrs. Shah for the basics of this recipe!

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