I thought that this was a very ‘spiritual’ thing to do and that it would therefore help me find myself.
I was alone on my mat, but in my head I was busy. I was not what you would describe as present in the moment. The anxiety and feeling of missing something was still there, so the search for myself continued. I went to various different yoga styles in this search: hot yoga, slow yoga and even slower yoga, until one day I got the honest realisation – I was using yoga as a distraction.
After many years of searching in this ‘spiritual yoga phase’ I was still suffering from anxiety, I did not accept myself and I still had the feeling that I was missing something. I did have a very tight and fit body and could do many of the yoga postures with ease, but as soon as I got off my yoga mat, I was all over the place, and mostly busy with the next thing, unable to stay present.
I started to question the yoga I was doing. Isn’t yoga about union, being one with yourself, in every moment of the day? Isn’t yoga about being in connection with your body and about embracing the inner stillness, to bring that into the world? Why did I not feel like that, even though I was doing so much yoga? Most of the days I woke up feeling anxious, anything but still, or present in my body.
Over the last few years I have learnt that yoga is not something you do, but in fact what you live. Yoga for me now has nothing to do with a yoga mat, a sauna, India, downward dog or going on a retreat. And no, it also has nothing to do with if and for how long I can stand on my head. Yoga is in every moment of the day and this is what I am now practicing.
Currently I am doing an online Esoteric Yoga class once a week, while I am laying on my couch at home with many pillows and blankets. During this hour I am laying down and sitting up, and am hardly doing anything else.
Nowadays, I am doing yoga every day, with ups and downs. I am doing yoga without a mat, but right here while sitting in my chair writing this article. Or while I am cooking, talking with somebody, walking to work or getting into bed. Then I am in stillness and with myself. Nobody is watching, there is no one to compare myself with, no challenging postures, no music, no incense, nothing to achieve and with a stomach that is slightly more round, because more and more I am not nervously holding my belly in. I feel less anxious and the feeling of missing something has diminished.
When I am in yoga (in union with me), there is actually nothing to miss and nothing to be anxious about.
Author: Mariette Reineke
Photographer: Geraldine Burrell