Whole Living Daily

Go Home to Yourself: Yoga On and Off the Mat

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There’s a fair share of exciting transition in my life right now for which I couldn’t be happier or more grateful. With this assumption of new challenges and aspirations, however, comes an added degree of financial and energetic exertion, making it very important to best nourish myself.

Today, I had the treat of spontaneously taking a wonderful basic Hatha yoga class. I’d just walked out of the Park Slope Yoga Center after teaching when I received news that my next commitment was cancelled. I turned on my heel and attended fellow teacher Craig Newman’s calming, classically sequenced session.

To be honest, I really needed to be there and it positively reinforced the course of my day. And, the fact it was a basic class made it all the better. As a relatively seasoned practitioner, there is something so soothing about being able to sink into nourishing, fundamental poses sans the flare that sometimes permeates the New York vinyasa scene. In fact, I always encourage my more experienced students to attend basic classes on a regular basis.

During class, I was reminded of the importance of going home to oneself, especially in a time of transition or transformation. I went home and reread this favorite excerpt from Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Art of Power:

"The first step in loving communication is for you to go home to yourself. You take the royal way back to yourself through mindful breathing to touch the joy, the beauty, the wonders of life in and around you. The practice of being mindful of your breathing, your walking, your breakfast-making helps you go home to yourself in the here and now, to be mindful of what is going on in your body, your feelings, and your perceptions, to recognize and transform your suffering....

Self-understanding and self-love provide the foundation for understanding and loving another person. This is the first step: Going home to ourselves, taking care of ourselves, understanding ourselves, accepting ourselves, and being compassionate to ourselves.”

So, I invite you to go home to yourself today.

What helps you do that? If it’s yoga or meditation, go and practice if you’re on the fence. If you are stressed or upset, remind yourself how invaluable taking this time can be.

Give yourself permission to nourish yourself.

Yoga brings stability and calm into every discipline of Sophie Herbert's life. She is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student) and a Whole Living contributing editor. She graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art, where she nurtured her passion for documentary photography. It was during this time that she began her disciplined and diverse study of yoga in New York, Paris, and India.

Sophie has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India. She feels grateful to still visit and work regularly with the Deenabandhu Children's Home in Chamarajanagar, Karnataka. In November of 2010, she became an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back www.yogagivesback.org, a grass-roots nonprofit that helps destitute women and girls in India build more sustainable lives. Sophie has also shared her knowledge of yoga at the Prana Yoga Center in Astana, Kazakhstan. Currently, she teaches at the Park Slope Yoga Center www.parkslopeyoga.com in Brooklyn and privately. Sophie is also an avid cook.

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