Four Ways to Support your Regular Home Practice
Maintaining your personal Yoga practice
A regular home practice, though sometimes elusive and difficult to establish, is certainly at the heart of going deeper, of integrating what we learn in classes, workshops and trainings and gaining true understanding of the transformative power of Yoga.
Still, I think many can relate to the feeling of low-grade guilt about the frequency or discipline of our home practice during certain phases of our lives. It can feel challenging to realize even very clear priorities, no matter how consciously we set them. Ironically, I have found it particularly difficult to maintain a strong and consistent home practice since I started teaching Yoga full-time. My days are soften so chopped up through my teaching schedule, that a set time for my practice has become increasingly difficult to manage. Add to that my own biorhythm which calls me crazy for getting up before 8 a.m. and the fact that I teach most afternoons and into the evening, somehow time always seems scarce.
If I'm honest, though, I know that I can make a regular home practice happen – it's equal parts ass-kicking and self-love. So, I've made a little list of reminders, attitude adjustments and concrete suggestions for how to rock your regular at-home Yoga time – keeping in mind that even a ten-minute Metta meditation in the morning can constitute this practice – and it can put a phenomenal spin on the day!
1. Inspire yourself
I can pinpoint the times in my life when my home practice was strongest, and it was often in phases after immersive and inspiring Yoga experiences like retreats, trainings or workshops. So, one key seems to be gathering regular inspiration for the internal and external practice, particularly if you are a Yoga teacher and spend so much time out-putting. This is one sort of fuel to keep your practice-flame burning strong.
2. Love yourself
The other major fuel is, of course, self-love. Sounds simple but is in actuality elusive at best and intangible at many other times. So, what does this even mean in the context of your Yoga practice? Try just finding a way to internalize the feeling of 'I deserve this' – and to really believe it, when it comes to the time you take for your practice. You and your mat. Or your cushion. No distractions. A gift from you, to you. Because you are that loveable, that worthy, that dedicated to your own wellbeing.
3. Get to know yourself
Our practice can become our mirror – the space in which we are confronted on a micro-level with situations, challenges, feelings that repeat on a larger scale in our daily lives. This is the magic of regular practice – we get to know the sticky parts as well as the feel-good moments. And the more we learn about our ingrained patterns – on the physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels – the better we become at out-foxing the part that gets between us and our regular practice...This is the intelligent form of self-discipline that lets us take ourselves by the hand, lovingly, and make the choices that keep us honest and connected to our integrity.
4. Support Yourself
Make it easy on you! Try setting the bar a little lower - you may be surprised by the results! I know that I often step onto the mat with high expectations of myself, my practice and my body. And then, if I'm having a lethargic or slow day, I can become frustrated and impatient with my 'performance.' I also know full-well that this is not the spirit I want to bring to the my practice, and I have seen, time and again, that when I come to my mat with a feeling of simple gratitude - for the time I do have, the moving, breathing body that I do have, which allows me to experience the practice in all of its glorious imperfection - those are the times I finish, elated and heart-full, even if I only 'managed' three sun salutations and a long, sweet savasana.
And, most importantly, remember to take the time to reap the fruits of the practice - to bathe for some moments in the buzz that imprints on our bodies and in our entire system after we move and breathe consciously. Be, gratefully and lovingly, with your perfect self