Over the past couple of months, due various reasons (Christmas, a holiday and different work patterns) I’ve been a bit out of my usual routine of doing my meditation and yoga in the mornings – and I have to admit, whilst my practice is obviously important to me, there were more times than I would have liked where I had got to the end of the day and found that I hadn’t managed to find the time for a proper practice yet.
This isn’t the first time my practice has dropped off a little and it certainly won’t be the last. I know that some teachers would say that to teach yoga, you must have a daily practice – and whilst I believe that a dedicated practice is essential to being able to teach authentically, I don’t believe that it is realistic, nor necessary to do a full practice every single day for the rest of my life. I have a busy career, family, friends and pets and hobbies that also play an important role in my life and also offer me the opportunity to practice yoga off the mat.
However, my practice is important to me AND I feel better when I regularly commit time to practice – including yoga asana (postures and movement), somatic movement and meditation.
When I notice that I’m not doing this as regularly as I would want to, I think about WHY I practice yoga and this helps to reignite my dedication and motivation to practice (this might be described as “tapas” in Sanskrit) – it helps me make the time and energy and fit it into my routine.
My why has evolved over time and continues to evolve. I’ve been practicing yoga since 2007 and the reason I practice has been many things over that time – from managing exam stress when I was at uni, to helping my back pain, as well as yoga classes to improve my running and several things in between! Over the past few years, my personal practice has been about being fully present with myself, my body, my breath and what is arising – but more importantly, it helps me feel calm and manage the stresses of a busy life so I’ve got more capacity for what’s important.
Of course, some days it’s more about the enjoyment of movement, being curious about the experience or easing out tight muscles – but on my whole, the main underlying motivation doesn’t change for me.
I know that everyone who comes to my classes or who I work with individually has their own reasons and motivations for practice. I also know that sometimes we aren’t always sure of our reasons and motivations initially.
We also don’t need to have deep, meaningful reasons for going to a yoga class – enjoyment, feeling better, getting out the house, doing some movement, having a break from the screen are all very valid reasons. I sometimes find that asking “what is my intention?” at the start of my practice can bring up some interesting things that I wasn’t aware of.
My invitation to you, if you find it helpful, is to consider why you practice yoga, why you come to class even when it’s cold and wet outside? Once you discover what that is, hold it close and remember it when the motivation tanks are running low, or when your diary is starting to fill up.
I love teaching yoga classes that help people find their sense of calm – whether that’s through relaxation and meditation or through more dynamic, stronger movement.
If you would like to join me for a yoga class on Monday evenings in Chorlton, you can join me for Dynamic Mindful Yoga at 18:15PM-19:15 or Yoga for Calm at 19:35-20:35 – both at Chorlton Health Hub.