You know exactly where it is. It is in the corner next to your hiking boots; it is in your trunk. Maybe it is under the bed; it’s your yoga mat. For weeks, months, maybe even years now you have glanced in its general direction making a silent promise to yourself to recommit. There is no time like the present. Spring is in the air and we are quickly approaching the summer months, why not use this time to replenish your practice?
Whether you’ve only attended a couple of classes or practiced for years before the job, the kids, or life in general pulled you away, the health benefits of yoga are absolute.
Dr. Timothy McCall’s article in Yoga Journal, entitled “Count on Yoga: 38 Ways Yoga Keeps You Fit,” lists 38 of yoga’s health benefits. It is a practice that stimulates and enriches the entire body, from memory enhancement to pain reduction to improved blood circulation. The physical benefits of yoga are almost as impressive as its spiritual and emotional benefits.
As a novice practitioner I’ve witnessed the beginnings of an amazing transformation as I continue to deepen my practice. I find my focus has improved, I’m exhibiting higher levels of compassion, and I’m willing to open myself up more emotionally. My practice allows me to demonstrate all those qualities with myself first, making it much easier to share those qualities with the world.
There is no quick fix, or magic pill, that can get you back on your mat consistently. There is however the power of choice. If you choose to replenish your practice, take time to invest in your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well being. It won’t take long to recognize the benefits. Here are three tools to help you begin your journey (again):
Practice for 30 consecutive days
This is not a new concept or idea. Most of the tasks in your life that are now habits (good and bad) are tasks you have done for 30 or more consecutive days. Your yoga practice will require a similar pattern. One of the greatest qualities of yoga is its simplicity. You don’t have to go to a studio every day or only attend one type of class, and your practice gear definitely does not have to match. Thirty consecutive days of practice will allow you to clear the space that is currently being occupied by all of life’s trappings. Put it on your calendar, make it an appointment and enjoy the time you spend on the mat.
Find an accountability partner
This role is perfectly suited for most mothers. My Mom absolutely adores reminding me of all the things I should be doing in life on any given day. Seek out an accountability partner and encourage them to consistently challenge you. If you have specific health goals related to your practice, make sure to share them with your accountability partner. Involving your mother, partner, best friend, etc. in your practice will increase your chances of following through and keeping your practice constant.
“Never being afraid isn’t what fearlessness is about. What fearlessness is really about is knowing that you are afraid . . . and acting anyway.” ~angel Kyodo williams
In fearlessYOGA, you quickly discover that “the way you show up on the mat is the way you show up in the world.”
There is a specific reason your yoga mat is currently rolled up under your bed. You must address that issue and take action. Regardless of the number of people you involve in your practice, it is still yours and yours alone. You have to wake up early, get dressed, and show up.
There will never be a perfect day, hour, or moment to recommit to your yoga practice. There will always be some challenge available to derail your intentions. Fear can present itself in many ways: injuries, insecurity, and time constraints are just a few. Addressing these challenges head on will ensure that the trunk of your car does not become the permanent home for your mat and the renewal that accompanies consistent practice will serve as a benefit to all of the people in your life.