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.”
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!