You are alone on the mat, without a teacher. Your only teacher is your breath. The sign of an advanced practice is being able to move and continue your slow, consistent breathing (that’s what Pat says). Once you lose your breath you need to back off or rest. Your breath will be your toughest teacher yet.
The first time I walked into the studio for self practice I was full of many emotions. Fear was at the top of my list. What am I going to do for two hours without direction? Am I advanced enough to even be here? Who goes to self practice? I unrolled my mat and lay down in constructive rest to relax. My mind went to the last class I took with Pat and thought what a good way to start. Scott circled the room like a yoga shark, looking around at everyone as they moved through postures.
Slowly after two postures Scott walked over and adjusted my hands in downward dog. He asked what I wanted to do today? This was a novel way to practice. Most of my yoga time is spent in lead classes where I have not much choice but to follow, and here I could choose. I told Scott I wanted to work on my full wheel, and hand stands. Scott’s face lit up with a big smile and said he would be right back. He returned with a sheet of paper that had a suggested flow with added hand drawings. He said that I could use this as a tool to strengthen my upper body and open my heart, two things I wanted and needed to work on. This is so cool, yoga homework.
Two hours flew by as I followed the sheet and added some postures that I felt like doing. I then lay in bound Supta Baddha Konasana, a restorative pose, and before I knew it the next class was coming in.
So that is what Self practice is all about, what was I afraid of?!