Written by Meg Williams-Lucy
Go with the flow!
For the majority of us, there will always be a certain level of difficulty in aiming to be consistent in any discipline, both mental and physical. It can be daunting trying to fit something new into an already busy schedule which often results in beating ourselves up if we miss a home practice or feeling guilty if we skip a day. But this is all part of the ebbs and flows of practicing yoga.
Try not to treat yoga like it is an obligation. Go with the flow! (get it?). All I mean here is let go of the mindset that you need to practice at the same time every day, or that your practice must include certain poses to be a ‘complete’ practice or for you to be a ‘real’ yogi. Sometimes it is just not possible to make it to a class or to get on your mat at all on particular days.
Regardless, creating a home yoga practice that YOU can commit to that suits YOUR body is a magical tool for your health and to deepen your relationship with yoga.
The benefits to practicing yoga consistently are endless, from increasing flexibility, building strength, to achieving greater mental clarity.
When seeking consistency with your home practice, we need to embrace the potential of breaking old habits and celebrate in creating new ones, as this allows us to bring playfulness and confidence both on and off our mats.
This way you will feel positive about your home practice rather than creating guilt if you do not have the time to spend 90 minutes on your mat each day.Start with a goal that is attainable such as 10 minutes every morning or evening just to move your body. Look forward to this time as something you are doing for yourself. With no guilt attached. Have the mindset that allowing this time for yourself will benefit the people around you, as you will be more present and welcoming around them if you have taken some time for yourself.
Find a space in your home that is specifically for your practice. Roll out your mat and you have your space. Try not to walk away or check your phone once you have done this. Once that mat is rolled out this is your time. Whether that means you simply sit on your mat for 10 minutes or you do a power flow.Make your practice your sole focus, honour this time, and make boundaries for yourself. This could mean consciously communicating to others you live with to please respect your time and space.
Consistency is key! Learning any new skill takes time and focus, as is the case with your yoga practice. As you keep returning to your mat you will begin to notice that your breathing will become easier, your warrior 2 is more integrated, and your flexibility and strength will improve. And then one magical day, you are in an expression that you could not do before. I will never forget the day when I could touch my toes in uttanasana (standing forward fold) with my legs straight and hands to the floor! (Never!).
These progressions in your physical practice will boost your confidence and inspire you to maintain the consistency you’ve already practiced. However, as wonderful as progression in postures is, remember that the idea of yoga is to not be attached to the results of your practice.
So do not feel discouraged if you have been practicing for years and are still unable to touch those toes. Embrace where you are at, and be in that posture with acceptance and awareness.
Moving your body and controlling your breathing is something that will come with time, focus, and regularity. With consistency and confidence in your practice, you will have the space to be playful, become more familiar with your body, and know what feels good for you. Once you have a consistent self-practice you will begin to move more intuitively and mindfully, so that you will leave your mat feeling present and peaceful.