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Evolving Practice

Having practiced yoga for more than half my 54 years, I've watched a gradual evolution in the focus and spirit of my practice. When I began in my 20s, even though I knew that yoga was not supposed to be about competition, my practice was nonetheless about achieving "advanced" poses. Over the years I've watched my passion shift to the more subtle pleasures of practice, in particular pranayama and meditation along with an emphasis on staying in poses for long periods. I still do active, strengthening practice; I just don't flit from one pose to the next, and I no longer feel the need to do extreme poses, even though my body is willing. My practice is much simpler now. I practice fewer poses in a session, and I give each pose time to unfold and transform. How has your practice changed over time?

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About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice, published by Rodmell Press. Her second book, Yoga for Meditators (Rodmell Press) was published in May 2012. She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to schools and to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

One thought on “Evolving Practice”

  • Erica O'Brien
    Erica O'Brien April 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I can totally relate to this. I started my practice when I was 22 and I am now 30. In the beginning I loved the idea of getting into poses that "other" people in class could do. I even forced myself into these poses. At the time, it felt fine. Now I must take it easy, realizing that all the time spent trying to get into advanced poses before I was ready caused tendon and joint issues that have shown up 8 yrs later.
    Live, learn, evolve, love.
    Yoga for me is simply a microcosm of my macrocosm (life).


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