My youngest daughter likes to say: “If you want to be a runner, you have to run; And if you want to be a weightlifter, you have to lift weights. ”As a runner, she knows that the only way to improve her race time is by running. Your no-nonsense attitude towards running reminds me of the spirit and importance of daily yoga practice.
Why practice yoga every day?
Daily yoga practice is a commitment to yourself and your own growth. Daily practice is essential to help us stay physically fit, mentally balanced, spiritually connected, and emotionally strong. It’s a simple, accessible, and affordable practice that can be done almost anywhere. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, even if you only have 15 minutes a day it will be good for your body, mind, and spirit.
The Yoga Sutras (1.14) teach us that in order to become firmly anchored in our practice, we must pay attention to it for a long time without interruption, with an attitude of devotion and service, and with all our hearts. As we practice daily, we create a powerful foundation and clear awareness for progress on the path to enlightenment.
The challenge of daily practice
Students often come to yoga with great enthusiasm. You invest in yoga mats and sportswear; they sign up for classes and declare that they are now “doing yoga”. As they immerse themselves in their practice, they begin to face their ego, fears, frustrations, and anger that they cannot touch their nose to their knees. Bodies that have long been conditioned to be numb respond with pain when underused muscles are called to do the work they have long been doing on the joints. Egos suffer when yogis look around the room and compare themselves to advanced students.
Many no longer come to class and eventually stop. But at this point, where we encounter our obstacles and excuses, the real challenge of our practice begins.
The benefits of yoga every day
We will not change our practice – and our practice in turn will change our life – if we do not practice regularly. The more we practice, the deeper we dive into our potential, our true selves.
What if you practice yoga every day? Daily practice empowers us with the spiritual confidence we have gained by going through the asanas and breaking through mental, physical and emotional obstacles. Daily practice cultivates the mindset that through patience and compassion, not brute force, we can achieve almost anything on and off our mats. Daily yoga practice has many great advantages! It helps us to stay grounded, centered, balanced, flexible, strong, calm, clear-headed, focused, relaxed, happy, healthy and free from stress and anxiety. In other words, it keeps us healthy!
How Much Yoga is Enough?
In his book Yoga Beyond Belief, Ganga White answers students who ask the age-old question: how long will it take? How long does it take to master the yoga postures? White’s answer: it will be the rest of your life.
Yoga is not a goal. It’s a journey. Mastering the asanas is not the goal of the practice, but the result of it. Pattabhi Jois said, “Yoga is one percent theory; the rest is practice. ”Sage Patanjali did not dictate the length of time required to attain mastery. He taught that through Abhyasa, constant and determined effort, and Vairagya, non-attachment and freedom from desire, we can establish a solid foundation in our practice. This goes against the way many of us live: we want instant gratification. Practice for a lifetime? This is far too long for many of us.
But we have to practice Vairagya and let go of our attachment to the goal. We must approach our practice with tapas – the zeal and willpower – to sustain a practice for a lifetime. On this journey we see how yoga reflects our life. We learn that what we do on the mat is what we do off the mat. Our posture as we approach a challenging pose reflects how we live our lives.
How do I start a daily yoga practice
Many people have difficulty starting a daily practice. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the thought of adding a new activity to your life and daily routine. Here are eight tips to get you started:
- Set a time. I recommend setting aside a short yoga routine each day. Examine your daily routine to find the ideal time to take time for self-sufficiency. Set reminders on your phone to remind you to practice.
- Start small. If you commit to a short exercise, the more likely you will achieve it every day. It can be as simple as five minutes of sun salutation or a few beginner yoga exercises followed by some pranayama (breathing exercises) and ending with a few minutes of meditation. You don’t have to spend hours on your mat; Just start small and build from there.
- Choose an appropriate level. Make sure the yoga classes you commit to are of the correct length and intensity for your skill set and level of commitment. Biting off too much at once can leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged. Also, consider whether you need more guidance than what they offer in class. Many teachers offer private tuition so they can work closely with their students to make sure they are getting the right lessons.
- Find a yoga teacher who inspires you. Find someone whose teaching style appeals to you and whose teaching is challenging enough to take you to new heights. Ask friends or family members who their favorite yoga teacher is. If you don’t have access to an instructor, there are tons of great yoga classes online to practice with.
- Do what feels right. Don’t worry too much about whether a yoga asana “looks good”. Just do what is good for your body. Some days I start my morning with a few sun salutations before breakfast. Sometimes I just sit still and take a deep breath. What makes sense to you is fine.
- Take it off the mat. You can begin a daily exercise anywhere, anytime, simply by taking a moment to slow down and listen carefully to what is happening in and around you. Remember, yoga isn’t always physical. In fact, many forms of yoga emphasize mental discipline and self-awareness. In traffic, take a moment to take a deep breath and focus on your breath. When you go to the grocery store, pause to feel the sensation in your feet, the air on your skin, the touch of the sidewalk beneath your feet. Look for free moments to pause, take a deep breath, and become aware of your body. Find opportunities to adopt a posture – like taking three deep breaths in the tree pose while waiting for your morning coffee to be brewed.
- Be patient. There may be a point where you have trouble staying consistent with your practice. This is happening because you are learning more than you expected. In this case, remember that patience is key. Keep reminding yourself why you decided to practice yoga regularly in the first place. As with anything else, the experiences and benefits of yoga and meditation deepen with practice.
- Keep it up. The most important thing to keep in mind is that consistency is essential if you want to see results. The best way to keep consistency over time is to make it a part of your lifestyle. Schedule a specific amount of time to meditate or do a yoga pose. And if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up! Just pick up where you left off next week. As long as you practice regularly, you will improve over time.
Do you have a daily yoga practice? What challenges have you mastered or mastered through this practice? What are the benefits of daily practice?