Yoga practice takes what we give it — the basic facts of our physical, mental, and emotional reality — and turns those foundations into tools for transformation. We learn that active effort and passive release can be coordinated to unwind all manner of tension. We synchronize breathing and movement to produce a kind of concentration machine that can clarify the focus of the mind. Broadly speaking, the shift in inner state we receive from every yoga practice shows us that the way we conceive of ourselves and our relationship to the world — what we usually consider the core of our identity — is fluid and malleable. In times of ease, this keeps our feet on the ground. In difficult times, this is vital medicine.
It is in difficult times that we shed habits and activities that seem superfluous. We try to consolidate our efforts in order to conserve energy for the rocky path ahead. I would gently suggest that throwing out your yoga practice when you’re overwhelmed is counterproductive. I know, it takes time, and time is precious. But as the teacher Maddie Huish once instructed me, 15 minutes of practice a day is more effective than two three-hour practices per week. How can that be?
Your yoga practice is, at its heart, a summoning of your inner reserves and an activation of your inner resources. Every day we can relish the opportunity to drop into the depths of this body, mind, and heart. It’s less about complexity and intricacy, and more about the simple power of dropping in. To tend to the sacred interior gives the exterior its context. It allows us to be more fully ourselves when we are wherever we are in the world. This is the great resourcefulness of yoga practice. A commitment to inner work provides us with strength we didn’t know we had, resilience we didn’t know we could muster, and insight that might otherwise remain obscure.