At the beginning of home practice I like to do some sort of centering to be present on the mat. Yesterday in our group practice we chanted “om” three times. Just as we inhaled for the first time, the phone rang. My husband wasn’t home to answer it. “Let’s just keep going,” I said. The ringing didn’t impede our centering.
In the middle I try to pay attention to what I’m doing. It seems fine to chitchat when practicing with friends, although we never (or rarely) do so in class. Much of the chat has to do with what we’re doing anyway. We help each other with alignment, remind each other to breathe, comment on how the asana feels. It’s gentle and companionable.
At the end it’s time to come back to the world. Sometimes we say something more than “namaste”, and sometimes not. Most often I think something, such as:
- All one breath
- Bow head to heart, surrender ego to compassion, and honor the divine within
- This is perfect, that is perfect, from the perfect springs the perfect. When perfect is taken from perfect, perfect remains.
I am doing yoga for my body, most certainly. I am also doing it for awareness of that one breath. If we know we are all breathing the same breath, how can we fail to be compassionate?