With 2015 just beginning, I’m hearing a lot of yoga on poeple’s resolution lists. To make your commitment to yoga last, consider the following 5 steps:
1) Commit, but Don’t Over Commit: A regular practice doesn’t have to mean an hour or 90 minutes per day. If you can fit this in and your body can tolerate it, beautiful, but if you can’t – it doesn’t mean your intentions for a daily yoga practice are doomed. The last thing you want to do is to assign a number of classes you “need” to do weekly, or daily, to be “regular.” That will only create stress and a sense of failure if you don’t achieve the number. Stress and feelings of inadequacy are not goals of yoga. If you’re just starting out, maybe you set a goal of attending just once per week and if you attend more often – great. A daily practice is a challenging commitment, and life doesn’t always allow you to attend at a studio. You may find that 20 minutes at the end of the day is enough to keep your practice goal intact.
2) Let Go of Time Constraints: Yoga practice can manifest in many different forms – not just a typical in-class twisting session. If your body is tired or sick, perhaps you spend a half-hour visiting just a few poses for 10 minutes each (for example, legs up the wall, child’s pose and savasana). A 20-minute daily meditation or breathing session might also stand in for an active class. Even 10 minutes of sun salutations in the morning and 10 minutes of pigeon in the evening is enough, if you deem it so.
3) Broaden Your Definition of Yoga: Consider how yoga can also manifest as an unselfish act of service for another, or study of yogic principles. You can even treat a meal as a yogic experience if you mindfully eat by sitting down, acknowledging the sacrifice made to create your meal, truly chew and taste each bite and honor a sense of fullness in your body – rather than eating to excess.
4) Don’t Rely on Outside Factors: Heading to a class is certainly motivating and enjoyable, but it isn’t necessary for practicing yoga. Online classes, dvds and a self-created practice are all valid ways to fit yoga in. If you’re excuse for not establishing a regular practice is lack of time or a studio’s schedule, take it upon yourself to make practice happen at home – or even at your desk.
5) Examine Your Intention: If your goal in setting up a yoga practice is purely physical – to achieve a specific pose or acquire the legendary yoga butt – chances are it won’t last. A goal that aims to serve your ego – so you can call yourself a yogi or do more yoga than your friend – won’t last either, nor will it nourish your soul. Doing yoga because your doctor, girlfriend or mom told you to probably won’t last either. Like anything, you have to find intrinsic worth in the practice to keep it going for any length of time.