One of the fantastic things about moving to Los Angeles and into a new apartment is SPACE!! We lived in a very small 2-bedroom apartment in the Mission, in San Francisco, for five years, with my husband, our dog, and (the majority of that time) my brother-in-law. Space was always an issue and the thing I complained about the most. So whenever teachers would urge me to start a home practice my first response would be ‘Yeah, right! WHERE?’ . When my brother-in-law moved out, we converted his bedroom into an office/guest room/yoga space. Just by the description, you can imagine how much yoga was actually practiced in that room. But I tried.
Now we live in a 2-bedroom apartment, in Los Feliz, that has a separate space that we use as an office, and our second bedroom really is a guest bedroom…and my very own private yoga studio. Since we don’t have the cash to create an honest-to-goodness guest room with a real bed, side table, etc., it’s mostly empty, except for tubs filled with craft supplies and sewing bits along one wall, and my countless props, yoga books, and empty space on the other. You can’t imagine how awesome this feels! I have my mat rolled out, with three blankets stacked on one end, ready for action 24/7. At any moment of any given day I can walk in there, shut the door, and pop into handstand, or down dog, or shoulderstand. What a feeling! (sung out, loudly, like Irene Cara)
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to kid you and say that now I practice at home every single day. There are still all the same obstacles that face most of us on a daily basis and keep many from going to their mats. Like needing to get some work done, needing to walk the dog, thinking I just HAVE to run that errand right now instead of practicing, or just plain ol’ not in the mood. My favorite excuse I hand myself all the time now is ‘It’s really too hot in the apartment right now. I’ll practice when it cools down.’ The list can be endless unfortunately. No matter how many yoga props I acquire, or new cushy nice-smelling mats, or my very own big fat practice room, it’s still hard. But that’s part of the practice too, right? Cultivating tapas. Tapas is one of the niyamas of Astanga Yoga. Tapas is that internal fire that keeps us on the path of yoga, that insists we get on our mat today because it’s going to feel so good and we are going to be so grateful once we’ve done it.
So I do. I get on my mat. Not every day, but most days. As part of my practice, I try to remind myself to be grateful for what I have. To be ever so grateful for that big, sunny, open room I have, and to be grateful for the inspiration that drags me in there at 6:30am to practice before the rest of the house wakes up. And I’m grateful for the ability (sometimes) to forgive myself when I can’t seem to get out of bed and go in there to practice. That too is part of yoga and sometimes the most forgotten. Being kind to yourself and not beating yourself up about missing class, or not being as flexible as the girl next to you, or thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner while doing pranayama. It’s not easy, but I’m giving it a shot. One day at a time…