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Return of the jedi (yogi).

A while back I was having trouble fitting yoga into my day. I love a morning practice. It really feels the best to me. Yoga on a mostly empty stomach, with the sun rising outside my window (you know, Japan IS called the Land of the Rising Sun) and an energizing ashtanga practice makes the perfect start to a day.

But then Japan happened.

I now have a 40 hour work week. I have to leave my house at 7:45 every morning. And being a teacher, I have to look at least decently presentable (which requires a few minutes of hair smooshing down and water-on-face splashing). I also like to have something hot for breakfast, and I need to pack my lunch, which requires some time in the morning.

For a month I was getting up just before or at 5am everyday --- this allowed me to have about 10 minutes to wake up / drink some tea, and practice for about an hour, then shower and make breakfast. It was great, once I got used to going to bed at 9pm every night. But once winter hit, and the morning sun didn`t come until 7am at earliest, and the apartment was SO cold (no heating here in Japan and bad insulation)β€”getting out of bed at 5AM was just too difficult.

So, yoga was pushed out of my schedule. At the end of the day, after biking and teaching hundreds of screaming elementary kids with energy levels you can`t believe, the last thing I felt like doing was yoga. My body felt different from sitting in a desk lots. It was dark, and cold, and I just couldn`t find my practice.

But after Christmas, I had had enough. I needed yoga. I love yoga. I wanted to practice. So I just made the time. Practicing afterschool is not my favourite. Not even close. Sometimes I really don`t feel like it. But I do it, at least most days. And it is for the better. So even when I don`t want to, I try to make time for at least a 30 minute practice. My body thanks me for it, that`s for sure.

Now that the sun is rising earlier, and the apartment isn`t so ridiculously cold (5 degrees outside is a warm winter for Canadians, but 5 degrees inside the house is way colder than back home), I want to attempt a morning practice again. This would give me more time to chill after my busy days.

And as you now, I started teaching a yoga class! One thing about being here and being away from my studio back home, is that it has made me realize how much I truly love practicing and teaching. Lately when I practice at home, I feel as though teaching just pours out of me. I think about alignment and adjustments, and breathing and things I want to say. Every week, I cannot wait to teach. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from something to see it clearly, no?

Do you find that your yoga practice ebbs and flows? Do you ever go for a few weeks/months without yoga? I know my practice certainly goes through phases, but the trend seems to be that I always find my way back to the mat, and back to Ashtanga yoga, where I started. Perhaps the big practice of yoga is being in the moment, and accepting the fluidity of your practice, rather than being attached to it. Yoga is not just about the physical practice after all, but about life as a whole, and learning to be present in it.