There’s much to celebrate on International Day of Yoga, which falls on June 21. This year, we’ve been reflecting on the fact that no matter how different our individual yoga styles, spaces, and reasons for participating in yoga, we are all united by our practice. Whether that practice takes place on a beach or in a corner of our living room, it’s yoga. It’s our practice.
We recently asked some of our contributors to share with us what they most value about their practice and the place where they come to yoga, and we think you might find some similarities and inspiration among the various responses. We also invite you to share your practice with us on social media and tag it with the hashtag #ThisIsOurPractice. We’ll be following along with everyone’s experience of yoga, and we’ll share some of the images and accompanying explanations of what yoga means to you on our Instagram.
And if you care to celebrate with us and thousands of others, we invite you to an in-person or virtual practice in partnership with the Times Square Alliance and Outside.io. On Tuesday, June 21, there’s a special (free!) summer solstice class in Times Square with YJ Contributor Neeti Narula at 7:30 a.m. EST. Don’t live in New York? You can still practice to the livestream of class, which will be available on YouTube and Facebook. Click here to register.
“My yoga practice feels like home. Wherever it takes me, I feel support, love, and acceptance. Wherever I go, it is always with me. For my asana practice, I love to be surrounded by or close to the sea. It has such powerful and good energy. Amorgos, an island in Greece, has been my daily practice location for some years now, and it is where I share my teachings. This beautiful rooftop is one of my favorites for my practice space. It has privacy and I can flow freely with the view of the Big Blue.”
—Miriam Indries, yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer
“Yoga is a huge part of my life. I live in a disabled body and am constantly dealing with chronic pain, anxiety, and muscle spasticity. My first practice is right after I open my eyes in the morning, and I let the light in. I practice 15 minutes of adaptive yoga in bed to reduce muscle stiffness followed by a cheeky 10 minutes of gratefulness-slash-mindfulness practice.
I practice a few wheelchair-adapted asanas every two or three hours when my muscles start to be stiff again. I like lying down in bed after lunch for a quick Nidra session followed by another 10-15 minute flow in bed. The other day I caught myself practicing pranayama while I was driving when I noticed a bit of anxiety crawling around.
Yoga is always right where I am. Yoga is right where you are. Yoga is life.”
—Rodrigo Souza, accessible and adaptive yoga teacher and social entrepreneur
“One of my favorite places in the world to practice yoga is Lamu Island in Kenya. The connection to my truest self is instantly available once I blend in with nature and become one with the elements.”
—Akosua Aset, kemetic yoga teacher amd social worker
“I often say that who we are is a relationship. Where and when we practice influences who we can be while we practice. I’m grateful to live in a home that is surrounded by nature and to be gifted most mornings with the most inspiring sunrises.
I like to practice outdoors. I feel more a part of the natural world that surrounds me. The bird song, the sounds of the water, and the boats going by are all my partners in practice, and in life.”
—Chara Caruthers, yoga therapist and yoga teacher
“I like practicing without a mat because it gives me a sense of freedom; it allows my practice to evolve naturally to match the environment outside. Since I travel for a living, it’s moments like these where I get to feel free.”
—Hiro Landazuri, founder of Body Smart Yoga
“My practice space is in the wild. I often look for spots around the garden, riverside, beachfront, etc. Any place that connects me to nature. This ultimately influences my practice, especially when I don’t have a plan for that day. I mimic the wild occurrences around me, like the trees, flowers, and the various animals around us. Our ancestors have created our yoga postures by looking around, [like with] Kurmasana, Bakasana, [and] Vrkshasana. Therefore, I use these wild asanas to create wild flows, followed by a mandatory chant playing in the background. This connection with nature is the ideal start to my day and it is my ideal yoga practice.”
—Riya Davda, a yoga teacher
“This is where it all began, on the roof of my old apartment block. This was my sanctuary, the place where I discovered the practice and uncovered myself. Shut off from the world, this is where, as an introvert, I would spend hours getting to know myself before finally taking the leap into teaching. This one place is what defined me as a practitioner and teacher of yoga.”
—Sarah White, yoga teacher
“This is my happy place. I rarely do poses here, but this is where I truly practice. I hike almost every day; it’s as essential for my mental health, as it is my physical health. Some days I barely notice the effort; other days I am slow and tired, and might even just find somewhere to sit and enjoy the view. Either way, I am reminded of my connection to nature. I am reminded to breathe, to lift my eyes from my daily concerns and regain perspective. I am reminded to be honest, patient, curious, and— above all—to be grateful.”
“Wherever I am, whether I am practicing in my bedroom or on holiday, my practice is inspired by my surroundings and what I am feeling in my body. Practicing near the ocean inspires me the most.”
—Wardah Hartley, yoga teacher and former “Survivor” contestant