You’ve been to a couple of classes in your local yoga gym/health club/village hall/Cat Café (if you live in Shoreditch – and I’m not even kidding) and the teacher keeps going on about ‘cultivating your own practice at home’. This sounds like an excellent idea. You’ve moved the coffee table, unrolled your mat, lit some scented candles and are all set to begin creating a truly integrated mind/body/spirit experience in your own home.
Except you won’t. And here’s why…
1.) Someone is making toast.
Instead of pressing the ‘snooze’ button for the 28th time and then setting off for work like a startled gazelle, you’ve got out of bed and onto your yoga mat. Your body, whilst still in a state of total shock, slowly begins to feel a little bit less like it belongs to your grandmother. As you work your way through some sun salutations you know that this is it. You are becoming one of those people – chatting to your work colleagues about “oh, yeah, well now I have to be up at 5am for chanting and my mysore class but I’ve never felt so alive…it has really changed my life” – balancing your life between running your own organic smoothie café and teaching yoga to orphans in Tibet.
But just as you hit your third downward facing dog, it happens. Someone else in the house is up and making breakfast. But not just breakfast, they are obviously making the most amazing toast in the world because the smell is OUT OF THIS WORLD. It wafts under the door, blowing out images of the OBE you’ll get of services to humanity and instead luring you towards eating your own bodyweight in Burgens Linseed Loaf, smothered in melted butter and jam.
It’s fine. Everyone knows hot toast is much better for the soul than yoga. Besides, you can start tomorrow instead.
2.) Something has died under the sofa.
That’s the only possible explanation. A small, hairy animal has dragged its broken little body underneath that piece of furniture, gasped its last, and is now doing what dead things do into the carpet.
Or it’s a sock. Or a bauble off the Christmas tree from last year. Or the remote control you always thought your ex-flatmate stole in revenge after you asked them to move out. Regardless – there is something there which shouldn’t be there.
Of course, the only reason you know this is because as you gracefully take a lovely relaxing supine twist on the floor, allowing your gaze to look along your left arm, just before you close your eyes and be at one with your breath – you see it.
But now you’ve seen it. And you know it’s there. And whilst you’re down there you also start to notice the rest of the detritus that has migrated around the places the vacuum fails to reach. When was the last time anyone ate peas in here? And what has that screw fallen out of? Is that a piece of Lego? So you start tidying.
It’s fine. Everyone knows a clean space is really important for your yoga practice. Besides, you can start tomorrow instead.
3.) Bandhas yes; bandwidth no.
You know you’re going to need a bit of guidance if you’re not going to spend an hour doing what feels like the practice you do in class, but just begins to look like really bad interpretive dance.
So you trawl through various online portals and, after an hour spent chuckling at cats falling off things, you find what looks like a good class to follow. And its free. Over 50 people have watched it, and not all of the comments below it are offensive, so how bad can it be?
Ok – the sun salutations aren’t quite what you’re used to. And your pretty sure that the lycra-clad woman only told you to do one side of Trikonasana, but so far so good. Then she starts getting her vinyasa groove on, sending you around the mat like a spinning top. You seem to be spending a lot of your time with your back to the laptop, relying totally on her seemingly random instructions of ‘inhale left, exhale right’ to get you through.
The next time you’re in a particularly challenging upside down/inside out asana, it all goes quiet. You pause, thinking this is probably because she wants you to fully experience the pose. Still nothing. You wait longer – thinking ‘wow – this is sooooo restorative….should I actually be enjoying the searing pain in my leg?’. Finally you manage to twist your head to the verge of rupturing a disc so you can see the screen.
And there it is – the spinning wheel of death (or sand timer of doom depending on your computer preferences). Bandwidth has put the nail in that yogic coffin for the day. And possibly put a tear in your hamstring attachment.
It’s fine. Everyone knows that it’s best to wait until you’ve got a couple of good DVD’s to choose from.
Besides, you can start tomorrow instead.