My Vinyasa Practice was a Psycho-Spiritual Trip – Hold the Psychedelics!

by Rina Pritchard

​My inner critic was louder than my inner cheerleader.

In moments of disappointment and the circumstances that came shy of success, I had allowed the fault to rest in my hands.

I mean, wasn’t I in control? Wasn’t this my life?

“I,” “mine,” “me” — the ego speaks in volumes.  I was dragging around an ego with baggage of feelings. Then, I thought my perception was the only reality that I needed — to each, their own. As a writer, I run on feelings and thoughts. They were as real to me then as a wrench for a mechanic. If my feelings were efficacious enough to fictionalize characters with personalities and dramatized events, why would I discredit them?

It was when I chanced on ​​My Vinyasa Practice, my outlook began to shift.

Yoga Goes Beyond the Mat

Being under Michelle Young shaped my outlook on life. (Maybe the universe was happening for me, not to me!) Having practiced since 2009, yoga became for me what it translated for many people — a moment to escape to when we felt depleted; a time when we can work up a sweat and perfect a pose we saw on Instagram. However, these were only byproducts of the journey.

I knew I felt a deep sense of awareness in my body as I practiced. Yet, I wasn’t aware that my troubles dissipated as I struggled to hold Warrior 3, sweat cascading down my temples. It then had occurred to me in hindsight: my anxiety waned, everything is fine.

When you are knee-deep in a practice, you are transported. You are no longer there, but here. My body was tested and trained to become responsive rather than reactionary. That’s how powerful the asanas are. And it’s when I began to integrate that practice off of my mat, things really began to shift.

My practice taught me to keep still.

Often now, I feel as if I’m on the verge of waking up…

My Vinyasa Practice Has Deepened by Practice

In a sense, you can say my yoga practice started in 2010 when I took my first yoga class. In another, it began Feb. 2021 when I enrolled in the training.

Yoga teacher training has allowed me to grow and to see that the grass was always greener on this side. I was already whole. Satisfying this illusion of perfection was beyond the question. I grew to become more compassionate with myself, and what typically had me concerned or fearful dwarfed in size. I grew less concerned with the events unfolding around me and responded rather than reacted.

My Vinyasa Practice helped me understand that yoga and our practice off the mat do not look the same on everyone. The training cultivated this beauty of inclusivity, from our bodies and minds to our experience in the discipline. It has offered me the courage to access my own story, my material, and use it as a resource. It has granted me the tools to anatomically align my knee to my ankle in Anjaneyasana, as well as align my essential values with my engagement with the universe.

Now I unabashedly honor my boundaries. I allow my sensitivity. With all my humanness, “warts and all,” I’ve come to catch up with myself and say I am bigger than the ego; I am more than these samskaras. I am a being in a human experience.

Being a teacher has taught me that we are students first, a teacher second. We need to practice as much as we need to teach. We hold space for our practitioners and those around us to foster compassion and education. The training afforded me the knowledge, and that combined with my inner material rewarded me with wisdom.

Wholeness Over Perfection

Yoga is called a practice, and I practice yoga every day. I allow my tamasic state, the periods of reset and the moments of stumbling out of a posture to become part of the process.

Now, I embrace those dry spells as a writer.

I invite my pain for tea when it makes a surprising visitation.

Yoga teaches me the value of the journey rather than the output. To value Svadyaya, or self-study, and coexist with whatever arises. To be with myself.