CONSISTENCY IN OUR YOGA PRACTICE
We should not underestimate the value of small deeds.
While I can probably think of how inconsistent I have been in many areas of my life so far this year, yoga has not been something I’ve been shaming myself about (vacuuming the house on the other hand…!).
Here is how I’ve kept up a consistent yoga practice in 2020.
We need our yoga practice now more than ever
When the going gets tough, we all want to hide from the world. But yoga is not about hiding. Your practice gives you space and quiet, sure. It also helps you find the courage to take purposeful action, even amidst the fears and emotions we all experience. By practicing yoga you are choosing transformation; for you, your community and the world.
The key lessons from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are based around action and intentionality. You act when you make a choice, and you act when you choose not to choose. Ultimately, you decide what actions you take, and these actions affect the people and the world around you.
To reinforce this concept, the importance of action and showing up is mirrored in so many yogic texts! You can see this in the Upanishads, or by considering Arjuna’s strife in the Bhagavad Gita.
Showing up and being consistent is so important in yoga. Not just for your yoga practice, but also for the ripple effect it has on the actions in your life and their effect on the world around you.
So, how do you show up consistently?
Don’t Underestimate The Value of Small Deeds
On Instagram I recently wrote about how we should not underestimate the value of small deeds. Transitioning from never doing yoga before to doing an hour of sweaty strong flow #everydamnday can sound appealing and glamorous. However, it can be hazardous to forget the baby steps most yogis have taken to get to a daily extended practice. It will likely mean you end up overwhelmed, ‘making excuses’ and shaming yourself for your inevitable inconsistency.
The path to consistency and a daily practice is a key lesson I teach to my private yoga clients. Almost all of the people I teach have a regular self-practice in between our classes, and I want to share this secret with the world….
The Secret To A Consistent Yoga Practice
The key to creating a consistent yoga practice is simple. Get rid of any time or exertion expectations from your yoga practice. What does this mean? It is the showing up that counts.
Your yoga practice now has no time constrictions. You can be on your mat for as long as you want to be, whether that’s one minute, half a day.
Having zero expectations also frees up your need to see yoga as a workout. Give yourself permission to move or breathe in the way that you want to in that moment. Maybe that is an extended savasana, a few sun salutations or five minutes of creative flow. Perhaps it’s stillness rather than movement. Be honest with yourself and explore what you want, rather than what you feel you should do. Most importantly, you don’t have to feel like you’ve ‘done something’ to have done something.
You don’t have to feel like you’ve ‘done something’ to have done something.
What Counts As A Consistent Yoga Practice?
I always say that taking 5 slow breaths can count as your yoga practice. 3 rounds of cat/cow movements counts too. Reflect on one line of the Yoga Sutras. Pause in downward facing dog. Sit and be with your breath. Hug a bolster for 5 minutes. Be fully present in your body while you hold Warrior 2 for a moment or two – you get the drift. Become intuitive to what you need, and practice as often as you want.
We do not need to practice for a set amount of time to qualify as a yoga practitioner. There’s no need to break a sweat, tie ourselves in a knot or hold a handstand in front of a tropical sunset to be a yogi.
Yoga invites us to meet ourselves where we are. It Is a practice of becoming aware of – or ultimately even remove – the lens that is occluding our vision and changing our perception of reality. We can’t do that if we’re seeing ourselves as failures half the time.
For many personality types, we fail as soon as we put expectations on what we are going to achieve (especially in 2020). Set yourself free and I can almost guarantee that you will do more than you have ever done before – because you want to, not because you have to. And remember, more doesn’t have to equal more time or more exertion.
What Counts As A Consistent Yoga Practice?
Set your intention to create consistency in your practice. Show up on your mat. The courage and motivation to take meaningful action for yourself and those around you will follow.
For more personalised guidance, find out more information about private yoga classes at The Yoga Transformative. I encourage every private yoga client I work with to do yoga at home. I love to help everybody create a consistent yoga practice.
Do you have a consistent yoga practice? Would you like to improve your ability to do yoga on your own? Let me know in the comments below!