Do you know what the hardest part of having a yoga practice is? Doing it. Doing the yoga. Day after day, year after year, and continue to have the discipline to get to the studio and get it done. I often say to my students that the hardest part of the yoga is actually putting the key in the ignition of the car and driving to the studio. Once you arrive you know you will go through class, whether it be wonderful, bad, ugly, gentle, easy, or inspiring, you will go through it.
As a teacher it can be even harder to squeeze your own personal practice into the day. After teaching class you can so easily skip out the studio doors to other things, thinking you’ve at least witnessed some yoga. But the fact is, if you are a Bikram teacher especially, you did not accomplish your own practice. You lead others through it, sure, you sweat a ton, but it’s not the same.
Many times throughout a usual work week I have students come into the studio worried about what class will hold for them that day because they have not practiced in so long. “Why did I stop coming?” is a common question I hear them ask themselves. And let’s face it sometimes life just gets in the way. But you must also consider the fact that you are getting in your own way.
A yoga practice is not just a workout. It’s a commitment to a healthier way of living. It’s a commitment to taking time just for you to concentrate on your breath, your body, and your life in this present moment. And since I have struggled on and off with finding that time in my schedule to practice for years now, I thought I would share some tips on how to make it happen for you.
- Put it in your schedule. When I look at the month ahead and start to give availability to the studios I work for I also plot out where the practice times will happen. I like to practice a minimum of 4 times a week, but allow myself the odd week when it has to come down to 3 sessions. I actually put it into the calendar and make it a date as non-negotiable as any other commitment I have made in my life. If you put it down as an appointment with yourself make sure you honor it and get to class. You are important.
- Pack up your bag and clothes the night before. We’ve all had that moment when the alarm clock goes off at 5am and all we want to do is roll over and forget about that class starting in half an hour. If everything is ready to go and all you have to do is slip on some yoga clothes and stumble out to the car there will be less resistance. Train yourself to just get into the clothes half asleep and then once you’re dressed you will have less excuses as to why you would want to skip the class.
- Post it on Facebook. If your status update the night before was about how you were going to hit the hot room at a particular time you will probably make the class. I have used this trick so many times. You just told the world and some of your friends that practice that you will be there and for some reason this will make you feel accountable for keeping this promise to yourself especially if people comment back, “See you there!”
- Get a yoga buddy. My yoga buddy is the best. We’ve been practicing together for 5 or 6 years now. And if I know she is going to take class at a particular time I will definitely try and take it. We used to practice together everyday until I became a teacher, but we still see each other in the hot room at least 3 times a week. Sharing the yoga and experience of class with someone is incredibly fun, as both of our practices have developed throughout the years. And sometimes it’s easier to make a date with others than it is to make one with your self.
So here’s to hoping that you keep up your regular practice. The only way to get deeper in to the postures and have a better understanding of yourself and others is to practice. If you haven’t been to class in awhile – get going. The first step is always the hardest, but I can promise you it will be worth it.
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