One of the most appealing and likable aspects of my Yoga practice is how utterly simple and unencumbered it is. When I began earnestly studying in India, it was me, the instructor and my mat. Period. No music, no gongs, no heat (trust me, the ambient outside temperature was PLENTY to keep me limber), no fancy props... Just the simplicity of Yoga. That was what attracted me the most and kept me coming back. So why, in this amazing and diverse country that we live in, was it so incredibly difficult to find like minded instructors once I returned to that states? I have two theories on this... First and foremost, we live in the land of innovation. Everything we do has to be new, and unique and shiny and fantastic. There is hot yoga, inverted yoga, aerial yoga, naked yoga... These are new and wonderful and perfect for those who practice these types of yoga, but they are not what I was looking for. Secondly, and I think this was my biggest challenge, is that Yoga is, in my opinion, a very solitary and personal practice. Not to sound arrogant, or egocentric, but my practice is about me. Not the person next to me, and not the studio in which I study. It's inconsequential how well the front row of the class does shoulder stands or a Full Lotus. It's-about-me. Period. I am not completing with the person on the mat next to me, nor should I be. I fully realize and embrace that I will never be the best Yogi in the room. I will also never be the skinniest, best dressed, or have the most expensive yoga equipment. Why?? Because I-just-don't-care. None of those factors are how I measure my success. They don't know me and I don't know them. I roll in with children in tow, drop them into child care, and race into the studio hoping I don't have dried cereal anyplace too embarrassing, and that there's still a spot for my mat. The same mat I've used for years... I'm lucky to have found clean pants to wear and haven't had the time for a pedicure in well... ever. But none of that matters, at least not to me. What does matter, and what keeps me going back to my mat every day, is that I feel better. I'm more limber and my flexibility is improving. I'm stronger and standing taller. I'm tightening and recovering some of the shape I was certain I'd lost after three children, and all of this with me, the instructor and my mat. How fantastic is that?!? Sadly I didn't make it to class today, so I'm going to go roll out a few mats and practice with the kids for as long as I can... Wish me luck! Happy Week Two of my 'Year of Yoga'!!! S.