I find that the best of yoga is done: by you, inside of you, with you and for you from you. That is what it is - the relationship is to self. And then, self relates to the world.
It's all about the experience and how we relate to it - as a lesson or a burden, as a reward or a punishment. It's rarely that simple; our lives are a series of complex events interwoven into intricate relationships, without much time for discernment or process.
We move so quickly from one thing to another, from one person to another, from one drama to another. Rarely do we really sit down and look at how we are participating in the drama, in the continued momentum, in the 'gotta get mine' that compels some to always be moving, always be shaking.
I've heard that the reason that the majority of first-time yoga students don't return for a second class is not the flexibility or the physicality, but rather that they can't stand being alone with themselves. Straight up, the quiet, the solitude, the nowhere to go, no distractions but self and thoughts, that is a mind-slayer for some. Do you notice that tendency in yourself? Sure, we call it 'monkey mind' and have a whole dialog about it, but do you always turn on the TV, or music, or something at home when alone?
And, what's it like to be inside your head when your thoughts are astir? What thoughts do you find yourself having, over and over - where are they coming from, and where are they going? These are interesting questions, and ones that I believe asana practice and the pursuit of yoga make more and more relevant. Relevant because they impart meaning into our existence, and therefore into our experience.
But, that 'thinking' thinking, aren't we supposed to be 'quieting the mind'? Perhaps, or maybe first we just become the 'observer' - the one who thinks about what the thinker is thinking about, but doesn't think the thought. Make sense? We learn in our practice to watch our reactions, to learn our triggers, to learn to handle the stress and unfamiliarity with equanimity and observance, not judgement.
Observance without judgement - perhaps that is one definition for meditation. That's where I'm at, and where I"m working on going.
Right now, I'm switching up my more vigorous practice for a daily sit. Thirty minutes, each day, in the morning hours. Just sitting. I thought, 'oh yeah, mantra - this would be perfect' and then thought again 'perfect as a distraction while sitting'. I did the same with male - doing japa - again, I would do the math and continue to figure out how many more rounds and begin ticking them off.
No, I mean sitting. Not even with any intention of meditation, although I do minimize all distractions, open up my body with a little asana so I can't blame the fidget, and then just sit with eyes closed. I set a timer, but it's not where I can see. And, I watch my firkin' mind do the polka, and then I think of Poland, and then Peirogies and the 2nd Avenue, and then Save the Robots and then and then and then...
And, i practice compassion, and I practice sitting still and not laughing at myself, while maintaining a sense of humor. And, I listen, perhaps maybe to hear something I haven't before. And I tell the committee 'shhhhh' while I listen. Now, I have times where I don't remember what was happening, vs thirty minutes of remembering that I was remembering. So, perhaps that is something.
While my meditation practice is far from orthodox, I'm going to use it. And, observe what it's like being me while trying to get better at being me with me!
Give thanks and praise, and just sit for a bit, by yourself, with yourself, for yourself.