Practicing yoga is like eating a beautiful meal.
What is the best way to prepare for your yoga practice?
Why do we sit in silence before we begin our practice?
How do we move through our practice in ways that are truly nourishing?
Practicing yoga is like eating a beautiful dinner. Yes, you can throw the food on a plate and eat standing at the counter, but for that meal to feel truly full-filling, it is better to set your space. Take out your napkins, choose your place mats, set up the silverware and stemware. Make your table beautiful, maybe even add some flowers for a center piece. And then before you even begin to eat, stop and say a short blessing. Extending gratitude to those who have harvested and prepared your meal.
When we sit down before our practice in silence, it is like setting the table before your dinner. You gather your thoughts, and let the busy-ness fade from the brain. You become aware of your breath and the feelings in your body. You acknowledge what hurts and what feels good. You notice those parts of your being that need nourishment. And you set your intention for practice, choosing a focus which will enable you to gain the most from your soon to be consumed yoga meal.
And the practice itself is like the dinner. Served in many courses; appetizers to warm the body, salad to awaken the body, soup to sip and lubricate the body, and then the main course, the big “meaty” part, into which you will sink your teach, and finally, you finish with dessert, something sweet and soothing, the final touch to finish off the fine meal.
Remember, there are many parts to this meal. Don’t eat too much to quickly. Don’t make your bites too big. Taste everything and feel how it all comes together. Take nothing for granted. Savor it all, and the yoga will truly nourish you.
When you finish, before you push your chair away from the table, stop for a moment and give thanks. To the cooks for preparing the meal, to authors of the recipes which inspired the cooks, to the universe for providing the seeds, and to yourself, for staying present throughout, for savoring the meal and receiving its bounty.