2015 is looking like it will be a year of transformation and growth, and that should carry over to our yoga practice as well. But transformation doesn’t come naturally, and it definitely doesn’t come without work.
Nobody knows that better than Jason Patrick. More commonly known as The Bearded Yogi, Jason has been doing yoga since 2003, and has taken his yoga practice around the world. Jason is the founder of the fundraiser Big Love Weekend (the next one is coming up in
February; tickets on sale January 12th), and has taught yoga to the likes of Edward Norton and Russell Simmons.
Just because Jason has been doing yoga for over 10 years doesn’t mean it came naturally to him at first. Like many of us, he had a challenge to overcome. His challenge was making the commitment to yoga.
“I would have a practice for a while and then I would drift away,” Jason said. “Once I was able to make a commitment, my practice deepened and I really felt the benefits I felt balanced, grounded, and happier in all areas of my life.”
Making the commitment can be the hardest part. I know that is something I have struggled with over the years as well. But once you make the commitment you too can feel the transformative benefits throughout all aspects of your life.
I asked the Bearded Yogi to give us some additional tips about deepening our yoga practice in 2015. Here’s what he had to say.
Ysmay: While yoga typically isn’t goal-oriented, everybody has different reasons for coming to the mat. What is one thing yogis can do to remain focused on their goal while remaining true to the basic principles of yoga?
Jason: We do all have different reasons for coming to the mat. I started with the goal of feeling more connected to my body. My one piece of advice is to be patient. It’s a simple one, but a hard one. Take a moment with yourself on your mat, before class even starts, and set a little intention. Then, let go of all expectations and enjoy the journey. Every time you step on your mat, you’re in a different place and each practice is it’s own journey. Honor and cherish that feeling.
What are some challenge poses you encourage yogis to try?
I laugh at this one. For my fellow New York Yogis: it’s final savasana. I find this pose to be the most challenging for a lot of my classes. The feedback I receive is that the hatha class (holding postures with breath) is at times more challenging than the power vinyasa. I think this is because New Yorkers are used to being in constant motion.
For us, stillness is more challenging. Even for people outside of New York, we are constantly checking our phones searching for stimulation. I encourage all my students to embrace the stillness and move past the thoughts. Once a student has experienced the bliss of savasana they won’t get up and run out of class. They have found their happy place. Savasana is where the yoga truly begins.
What’s one piece of advice you have for someone struggling to maintain a consistent yoga practice?
Be patient and find a great yoga community. Having yoga buddies to practice with, travel with and most importantly, grow with is the best!
How do you intend to deepen your yoga practice this year? Let me know in the comments! <3