Mantra Monday: How To Begin A Yoga Practice
10.29.12

Q: Hi Kyle, I’m emailing as I’m trying to find the motivation to start a committed daily practice. I’ve hummed and hawed about what I should do and how I should do it and on and on and on…while my mat sits in the corner collecting dust. My question to you is whether you can share a similar experience? Are you naturally flexible or did your amazing asanas come from dedication and commitment? And if so, what does that MEAN? Two hours a day every day? Fifteen minutes every other day?

I’m really struggling with wanting to see shifts on all levels and not being able to “Just do it.”

Warmly,
Eryn, Barrhaven Yoga

A: I struggled with committing to my practice for years! In high school, I would battle with myself: should I work out, should I not? I want to, but I’m lazy/tired/busy/just washed my hair. As I started getting more and more into yoga and learning about it, I realized that I was only fighting with myself. I wanted to be someone with a regular practice. Practicing always makes me feel grounded and happy and had to be a regular part of my life. Noticing how I felt after practicing (especially compared to days I hadn’t practiced) helped me get there. In the beginning, I would come to class just for the feeling after…

Once I stopped fighting with “to practice or not to practice” and committed myself to coming to yoga five to seven days a week, the benefits started revealing themselves. First of all, you can go deep in your practice and notice improvement quickly. You can also see the practice as a refuge, as a safe haven, as a satsang. It doesn’t have to be the same every day. And when you have a regular practice, you don’t have to do every class like it’s your last; just coming and taking it easy is okay. I definitely think its better to keep your momentum and take a restorative class rather than skipping all together.

As far as what actually defines a daily practice, it is up to the practitioner. For me, it is going to a studio and taking a class (I love not having to think about what to do and listening to the words of my teachers), but doing a home-practice or even a few rounds of sun salutations could also work. As long as you are going inside and challenging yourself, I think it can be your practice.

Oh, and all of my flexibility comes from my practice!

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