'Only one practice in the morning. Two or three hours. Whatever, however much your guru has taught you, your teacher has taught you, you should practice that. That is enough.' R Sharath Jois.
I may have taken this quote out of context, but over the last six months, with a full time job, full time study, and teaching yoga part-time, I didn’t have 2-3 hours every day to practice. I had to become flexible about my daily practice and take every opportunity that presented itself to practice. I practised early in the morning, I practised late at night. Sometimes I only had a couple of minutes to take five slow ujaii breaths and focus on a mantra.
My practice was supported by what I learned from my teacher training with Its Yoga. Within the Its Yoga system there are five core sequences consisting of salutations, standing poses, seated postures, twists backbends hip openers, inversions and arm balances. While these core sequences gave me the opportunity to explore, study and play with my practice according to my commitments and my life, Its Yoga's Modified Primary Sequence (MPS) became the essence of my daily practice.
The MPS, a 45 minute sequence of constant movement kept me grounded, steady and focused. This beautiful, fluid, yoga dance inspired by the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga, allowed me to stretch, lengthen and open after hours of sitting hunched over a computer and books and calmed my busy mind. Through the consistency and discipline of breath and movement, I found a sense of stability that helped me meet the demands of a competitive work environment and a competitive academic environment. On days that were particularly busy I cherry picked postures from the MPS for 20-30 minute practice.
Over the last six months I have learned is that is OK to let your life lead your practice. If you have two hours every day to practice, that’s fantastic. If you don’t have two hours, maybe you have five minutes in the morning for some meditation or sun salutations. Maybe you have two minutes during the day for five focused ujaii breaths. Your yoga practice is anytime anyplace where you connect with your sense of self and purpose. Live your yoga, every moment, every day.