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When I lived in Telluride, Colorado, I attended a studio called Heaven with a great instructor named Diana. I loved her classes; she worked my body, got me breathing, explained pose benefits, and genuinely cared about the class. But then she moved to Wyoming. I started practicing at home, using the sequences she had taught me as I waited—in vain—for another teacher like her.
Four months later I resigned myself to being on my own. I began doing yoga more often and for shorter periods, doing different sequences. I practiced poses I hated and poses I loved. On the days that I felt like a blob, I did comforting poses. On the days that I felt energized, I did a longer series. When I felt grateful, I did lots of backbends. My practice became personal. No individual session was exactly the same, because no day in my life was exactly the same—as each moment passes we have new experiences that change us, even if only in a small way. I began honoring my body each day. I was being true to my Self, and it felt great! Losing my instructor became a blessing. Diana was gone, but I had gained a truly personal practice that was dependent on no single studio or instructor.
In my practice, I have added personal statements of gratitude, acceptance, and affirmation. I might do a swan dive into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), accepting all that comes to me. Sometimes I do Triangle Pose, thankful for what is today. I’ll do Revolved Triangle, thankful for what was yesterday. And I’ll do Warrior Pose III, taking what I have been blessed with and carrying it forward to share with the world.