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Discipline – or Devotion?

How to Do Yoga Every Day

I wrote a couple of blog posts recently about consistency, and how to get consistent in our yoga practice.   Today I wanted to elaborate on the idea of a regular yoga practice, for anyone who is trying to find out how to do yoga every day.  I hope it helps – let me know if it does!

I see, and speak to, so many people who long for a daily yoga practice but struggle to stay consistent with it.

And I understand it on both levels; having a daily yoga practice has changed my life but committing to any daily habit is hard – at first.

At its core, yoga is all about action.  As Pattabhi Jois always said, “yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory”.

That’s why I base my work at The Yoga Transformative on yoga; it is a tool that brings our subconscious stories and limiting beliefs to the surface so that we can see and work through them.  You can sit around and research and read all the self-help books in the world, but action is the only path to transformation.

Consistency Without Attachment – Abhyasa and Vairagya

Although the Sanskrit word abhyasa is derived from ‘to sit’, abhyasa really is about a consistent spiritual practice. Of course, as anyone devoted to anything will tell you, consistency is not about sitting around and feeling comfortable! I think of abhyasa as the grounded nature of the practice.  Showing up and taking consistent action, whether we feel like it or not.

Vairagya refers to the non-attachment aspect of practice.  It’s the leaving the ego at the studio door, and the acceptance that nothing is permanent.  Vairagya is the detached in ‘detached awareness’, where we can be present with what is, without grasping for an outcome.

You know how some days you can be hold tree pose and feel effortlessly rooted, but the next day you can’t lift one foot off the floor without falling over? Instead of getting frustrated at your elusive balance skills, practice vairagya.  Accept where you are and that all things are transient.  We cultivate abhyasa by showing up and practicing anyway.

So, um … how do I stick to a daily yoga practice?

Short answer: you commit. You do the work.

Long answer: some days it’ll be easy to get on your mat, other days you’ll make all the excuses in the world to talk to yourself out of it, but you’ll practice anyway.  I love to see our excuse-generating mind with compassion, like it is a child trying to throw its toys out of the pram.  Every day there will be a few reasons why we shouldn’t stick to something, but the more we practice consistency the easier it gets.  And – the stronger we become.

Seth Godin’s newest book The Practice is all about doing creative work (highly recommend!).   His concepts can be applied to anything, including yoga.  In it, he writes:

“We can’t always do much about how we feel, especially when it’s about something important, but we can always control our actions.  Your work is too important to be left to how you feel today.

On the other hand, committing to an action can change how we feel.  If we act as though we trust the process and do the work, then the feelings will follow.

Waiting for a feeling is a luxury we don’t have time for.”

Be consistent in doing your practice and be flexible in how it looks

Feeling physically exhausted?

Get on your mat and do some restorative postures.

Feel mentally overwhelmed or anxious?

Find some gentle seated stretches and move slowly.

Feeling all the emotions?

Find some standing postures like Warrior 2 to feel grounded and more empowered.

Feeling groggy?

I find handstands wake me up better than coffee in the morning 😉

Have a lot on your to-do list?

Have a 5 minute yoga practice, or even do one pose. It all counts.

Look for support and accountability

I am one of Edinburgh’s leading private yoga teachers and I am really passionate about helping others create a home yoga practice.  I currently have some space for studio and online (Zoom) clients.

You can find out more information about private yoga classes and even book online here.

Are you struggling to have a daily yoga yoga practice? Let me know if this post has helped or inspired you in any way!

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