As creatures existing on Mother Earth, our lives are governed by natures laws. There is a time and season for everything. The planet cycles through night, day, Summer, Spring, Fall and Winter. The same is true for the rhythms of our bodies and yoga practice.
In order to get the most out of yoga and to truly transform the mind and body, daily practice is recommended. Practicing yoga doesn't just mean doing poses, it can also be meditation, spiritual study, chanting, service to others, or just living according to the 8 limbs as laid out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
The number one impediment to a daily practice is the refusal to be okay with life's daily ebbs and flows.
It is the idea that in order to practice yoga, a perfect storm of events has to occur.
You have to:
- Feel like practicing
- Have at least 1 hour
- Have no injuries
- Be in a hot room
- Not be in a hot room
- Be in a yoga studio
- Not be tired
- Do the whole series
- Not Be sick
- Have a teacher
- Have a particular teacher present
- Be in a particular class
- Have Music Playing
- Have No Music Playing
- Have complete silence
However, just like nature, everything changes and moves. If you plan your yoga practice around things that are not constant, then it will never be consistent and your results will be shaky. Just like taking a shower and brushing your teeth, it has to be a ritual that you do regardless.
When you embark on cultivating a daily practice, you will notice that every day is different. Poses that come easy one day, are difficult the next. Some days you can meditate, study and live with fierce focus and other days you are totally distracted. Ashtanga Yoga teacher David Swenson often talks about Yoga Fairies. One day the yoga fairy will tap you on the head and you can put your feet behind your head and the next day they will tap you and you can't.
This happens because we are holistic beings. Everything in our life and our environment effects us. Their are no singular events. Even though we have daily rituals, no one's life is the same every day. Even concepts that exist in our subconscious mind, effect us. These little daily shifts also ripple into our practice.
As long as we except this, we do not suffer. Yoga teaches us to be in the present moment and not let our happiness or focus be swayed by what we see outside of ourselves. Work towards your goals but see everyday with new eyes. Practice Ahimsa, or non-violence, by not forcing your body or mind. Know that as everything ebbs and flows, your focus and poses will return to you. With steady practice and faith, everything will be revealed and achieved. Accept the ups and downs and do your practice anyway.
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