Over the last couple of years, and particularly the last 5 months while completing the Yoga Teacher Training at Sukha Mukha Yoga in Bronte, I have learnt that yoga is so much more than stretching your hamstrings in downward facing dog or being able to touch your toes in a forward bend. I have been inspired to take my yoga off the mat and have realized that my daily dose of yoga doesn’t have to be an asana practice and that I don’t have to be a yogi living in a cave to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in each moment. It is an opportunity to see the true nature of who you are and how you live your life.
In his compilation of The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali writes that yoga is the cessation of the fluctuation of the mind. While Quiet Quest has given me the perfect excuse to have 30 minutes all to myself each and every single day, it has also reminded me that my mind is in a constant state of fluctuation.
Quiet Quest has also taught me a lot about my own asana practice, particularly my reliance on music to distract me from the mental and physical discomfort I experience in certain poses. Where I would usually tune out of myself and into the music in hip opening poses, for the purposes of Quiet Quest, I have had to sit with and accept the feelings of anger that come up for me in these poses, where on a subtle level, I clearly hold a lot of negative emotion.
My teachers have often told me that the attitude that we bring on to the mat can often be a mirror of our attitude towards life off the mat. During the silent practice focusing on forward bends I was forced to admit that I still experience a case of the “I’ll be happy when” mentality. Specifically I’ll be happy when my chest is lying on top of my thighs and my back is flat. My off the mat “I’ll be happy when” equivalent is usually something equally as superficial like I’ll be happy when I buy that dress and matching pair of shoes. And while I’m embarrassed to admit this – I was forced to hear it was the case in that silent practice.
Overall, through my experience with Quiet Quest I have been able to recognize how much noise is in my life and how beneficial it is to unplug and listen to the sounds within. I have learnt the importance of making room for quiet each and every single day and I intend to continue on this quest long after the fundraiser ends.
I would encourage everyone to take the challenge next year and participate in Quiet Quest. It’s a great way to not only support those living with hardship but a lovely excuse to switch off and go within each day.