Sarah Powers describes the process of discovering the healing power of her self-practice as learning how to become her own personal acupuncturist but without the needles. I know what she means. I love experimenting on my mat with different and strange ways of moving in order to find more effective and efficient ways to awaken, lengthen and strengthen a particular muscle group, to bring balance to my body, and to use my breath to explore its full potential. I love going in like a detective and working in very precise ways to bring heat to a certain area and to use that heat to create specific openings or energetic effects. Our capacity to use breath, movement and mindfulness to effect change is truly astonishing. Every practice is an opportunity to ask the question: "What is possible?" and to listen with our whole being for the answer.
Unless I am sick or traveling, I've built a life that allows me to spend a couple hours or more on my mat everyday. It’s my prayer mat. It’s my playground. It’s my blank canvas. It’s my palette of paints. It’s my movement laboratory. It’s my joy. It’s my solace. It’s my wellspring of hope. It’s my breathing room. It’s my wilderness. It’s my coming home.
I like to challenge myself. It helps me to more fully let go on the other side. There is always a moment (or several) of fear at the beginning of my practice where I wonder: "Am I going to make it through this practice? Can I really do this today?" But then I get lost in it. My mind quiets. And before I know it a couple of hours have passed and I feel energized and empowered. Physically I can't do anything extraordinary. I am built like a plank of wood and I don't bend easily. I'm not particularly floaty. I live in the basics and make endless discoveries there. But each practice for me is a victory over fear, a step towards joy, and a reminder of what a precious gift it is to be alive. A strong vinyasa practice fills my whole being with a sense of vitality and ease. My practice helps me to embrace all of my life with courage, clarity and heart and I have found that as long as I show up for it, any of the dreams I have for my life off the mat have a funny way of coming true.