Some days it feels challenging to make it to the yoga mat. There are always other duties that need to be carried out, and plenty of distractions. Maintaining a yoga practice can sometimes feel like a daunting task.
Here are 6 tips to help you maintain a yoga practice over the long run.
Choose a time you can be consistent about. I try to practice yoga first thing in the morning because once I get busy with my day I find it harder to pull myself away from tasks to slow down and practice. You might find yoga is a great way to wind down from a long day at work. If you choose regular days and times to practice and enter it right into you calendar and set a reminder you may find it easier to keep your practice up.
PRACTICE WITH A PARTNER
Accountability can really help one be consistent. One thing I find helpful when making a self-commitment is to speak it into existence. I start telling other people about the commitment I have made and it helps me to stay accountable to my goals. Alternatively you can ask someone in your community to join your for practice at a regular time, or join a 30 day challenge at a local studio. If nothing else you can always book a one-on-one session with me!
CREATE AN INVITING ATMOSTPHERE
Who wants to practice yoga in a space that feels cluttered and chaotic? It’s tough to feel relaxed when you’re bumping into things while you move. Take time to clear a dedicated space to practice. The space should feel inviting and nourishing and like a place you want to spend time. You can light a candle, burn incense, or use essential oils to engage your senses. Ensure your space is at a comfortable temperature – too warm might make you sleepy, and too cool might make it hard to relax.
BE CURIOUS AND EXPLORE
Drop the idea that your yoga practice should look any one way or that you should be having any particular experience in your body. Drop the notion that you should walk away from your practice being more fit, more toned, or more flexible. This is all unnecessary pressure and it’s rooted in Eurocentric beauty and health standards of perfectionism which are often unattainable. Your body is simply your body. Be curious and discover how your body moves and listen to the feedback and wisdom it provides. Instead of overriding the body to reach a set, being responsive to each movement will help you develop a practice that is centered in the present moment. The present moment always offers us something new and interesting if we slow down and observe.
While spiritual growth can be serious work it doesn’t have to be life-sucking. Add a little music, or try closing your eyes and focusing on different sensations in the body. You could try out different props and see how they feel. Allow yourself to be creative with your flows and allow intuition to guide your movements. I like to chant the simple mantra “Om Maa” when I practice that remind me to surrender. If the practice feels joyful you’ll be more likely you’ll be to return.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HUMAN
Over the past 10 years my practice has had it’s ups and downs. I have had periods where I practiced frequently and periods where I took a break from asana entirely. In fact after I certified as a teacher I took three months off from practicing entirely.
Trees don’t fruit year round – they need periods of rest. In the fall they drop their leaves which decay in the soil over winter. They take up nutrients from the soil during this time. In the spring they make new leaves and by summer they can again bear fruit. Periods of rest are natural. Often we integrate the lessons of our spiritual practice during times of rest. Don’t beat yourself if you need to take a break. Trust that the body has it’s own wisdom and do what feels right for you in the moment.