I recently attended a workshop about developing your own yoga practice, independent of a teacher or a video telling you what to do. The instructor went over the usual obstacles for getting yoga done at home: time constraints, motivation, space, etc. She then told everyone that, without fail, she does yoga every single morning, immediately after she wakes up. This got a few eye rolls from the room; of course the registered yoga teacher has the motivation to do yoga bright and early in the morning, when the rest of us are crawling over to the coffee pot.
But what she said next made us all rethink things:
“Every morning, I have my cup of tea. And that tea is my yoga.”
Every morning, as she has her cup of tea, she sits down at her table and just…breathes. Not any special yoga breath, but regular, everyday, forget-you’re-even-doing-it breath. She sips on her tea, looks outside her window to the rising sun, and breathes. She does her best to keep her mind clear but, just like in yoga practice, thoughts inevitably pop up; and, just like in yoga practice, she accepts them, and, without judgment, sees if she can just let them drift away. Maybe she’ll close her eyes from time to time. Maybe she won’t. Regardless, she’s not there to gulp down her cup as she checks the news and Facebook and her emails. She’s just…there.
I’ve never been able to consistently do a first-thing-in-the-morning yoga routine. I wake up stiff and achy (and all the other adjectives that prove you’re just getting old). I’m in no mood to get out of bed, let alone dance into my first down dog of the day. So I tried that “yoga tea” this morning – only I substituted “tea” for “coffee” (because I love coffee and coffee loves me back). I brewed my coffee, made my breakfast, sat down at the island in my kitchen (which is far, far away from my smartphone or my laptop) and just…breathed.
It didn’t last as long as I would’ve liked: the second I finished my oatmeal, I got up with my cup of coffee and attempted to walk over to my computer. I thankfully had the wherewithal to hang a sharp left and get out of there. I walked over to the front door and, with coffee in hand, looked out one of the side windows instead. This lasted about a few sips before I again attempted a return to my computer, only this time I detoured over to my patio door. Eventually I caved and, with my mug only half-empty, sat down at my computer to do my usual “check ALL the things”.
But that’s okay. Instead of berating myself for falling into old habits, I’m happy that I was able to last all the way through breakfast in the first place (which I usually scarf as I check the news and Facebook and my emails). My goal is to slowly build up my “coffee yoga”, the same way I slowly built up my physical yoga practice, and see where that goes.
Regardless, I absolutely love this idea. Yoga doesn’t have to be an hour-and-a-half-super-involved sequence. It doesn’t even have to occur on your mat. As Tirumalai Krishnamacharya once said: “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” It plays into the idea that yoga is exactly what you make of it and exactly what you need it to be. You don’t need to buy from Lululemon and you don’t need to have the disposable income to spend on unlimited passes at yoga studios. You don’t need to do anything other than take a moment to breathe. Whatever you add on to that is entirely up to you.
I really like the idea of yoga as something you can do during your usual morning routine. I love the idea of yoga being as simple as a few deep breaths while you think about nothing in particular.
Or maybe, as a caffeine lover, I just really like the idea of coffee playing yet another part in my life. Who knows.