Life is hectic. Life is tough. Life is destabilizing. There is something very special and important about viewing your yoga practice as if you are "coming home." What does this mean? When we take out all of the bullshit that runs in our brains to try to justify not hitting our mat we are left feeling naked, vulnerable, and overwhelmed. These are my 3 suggestions to keep you on your yoga mat regularly so that you always feel safe in your practice and to use it to fight those feelings of being naked, vulnerable and overwhelmed.
- Have a daily, same time everyday, self-practice. This does not mean that you have to do a 2 hour session and kick your ass everyday. This is a place and time that is built into your schedule so that you can autopilot back onto your mat in your space with your comfort zone to practice breathing, meditation, and asana.
- Have a teacher that you see regularly. This point is actually the reason I wrote this post. It is vital to have an instructor that you see consistently. I am in no way discouraging trying out new teachers, experimenting, and expanding your horizons. Instead, I am encouraging a regular practice with a specific teacher that you "vibe" with on a regular basis. Why is this so important?
- It is very easy to create reasons in our heads to stay away from class. If you create a deeper connection with one, consistent teacher...you will feel the good kind of pressure called accountability. Sometimes we need a kick in the pants to go to class. I assure you that this will result in some anxiety about getting to class but a much more loaded reason to attend because your absence will be noticed.
- Communication and ease of following directions.
- As an instructor and long time practitioner of yoga...I tend to have the ability to predict in a sequence what is coming next. This is not what your focus should be. You should be always and only in the present moment...but, when you are very used to a specific teacher and their directions you are able to get an enormous amount of benefit from not having to worry about the specific order but to be able to focus on some deeper direction and exploration. Having a specific person you see frequently makes this possible without being a teacher.
- Having a "safe" zone that feels like coming home when you attend class.
- Even if you feel more "pressure" to attend class with your regular teacher, I promise that you will feel safe and like you are coming home the second you sit down and class begins. No matter what shape you are in, mental state, or stress level...the idea of repetitive activity and action allows you to break through these barriers and just get to class.
- Have a regular online/podcast/print-media practice. It is not always possible to go to class and many days it is difficult to figure out what to do on the mat. Having a consistent place where you can find great resources to aid your home practice will keep you going. These sources also come in extremely handy if you are out of town, out of whack, or just out of it.
I am in no way discouraging change and evolution in your yoga practice (isn't that the point?). So, as you life changes so does your home-base teacher, podcast or space. Go with with flow and it is ok to yearn a lost teacher. But, take the initiative to get back on your feet and commit your practice with someone else.