Become a better yoga student with these 5 mottos
Yoga can be very inspiring and yet we may find ourselves resisting or delaying practicing regularly. We may have the best intentions, however get stuck in the actual application. Here are five practice empowering perspectives and principles to help you make yoga a regular part of your life:
1. Life is Better With Yoga
People share their personal yoga stories with me all the time.They tell me how yoga has touched their lives in deep and meaningful ways; from people who have recovered from addiction to living pain free from an injury, to improved relationships, to enhanced spiritual development.
Why? Because, yoga is expressly designed to make one’s life better. It is made to iron out the friction that keeps us feeling separate from life, to lessen the drama and amp up the peace.
I find that I am most resistant and doubtful of yoga practice when I am practicing the least: “I know this yoga stuff doesn’t work, because I’m not doing it.” It is at these rare-rare moments that I remind myself that the effort that I put in is truly worth it, many times over.
Something far greater than doubt and resistance awaits on the other side of shavasana. It becomes necessary to take those first initial steps that will guide me further into the practice and the promise that it holds.
2. Yoga Is Limitless. And So Is Your Practice.
Yoga is limitless. There is no end to the amount peace, integration and fulfillment one can experience through the practice. This may sound very lofty, but with deliberate effort, it is attainable. Through regular practice, gradually our center of gravity begins to shift and we are no longer triggered quite as much or quite as often.
Yoga allows us to see ourselves from multiple perspectives, the same way you might hold a fine jewel up into the light to appreciate its shape, color, and how it reflects the light.
There is an element of mystery in yoga practice; it asks us to reconsider our conditioned thinking and to create space for uncertainty. Embrace letting go of preconceptions of yourself and the world around you and be open to yoga’s ability to guide you into and through the unknown.
3. Go Beyond The Mat & Go Beyond The Pose
The affects of a healthy asana practice are fairly immediate. The mind becomes clearer and the body becomes free and light. This kind of practice may feed us for many years. And yet, sooner or later, whether it’s an inter-personal riff, or a parking ticket on street sweeping day, we are bound to experience some form of disappointment.
It is at this point that we can draw upon deeper yogic principles such as compassion and non-attachment to regain our center.
At first we do yoga to improve our lives. Then we do our life to improve our yoga practice. Consider, are there things you can be doing (or not doing) out side of formal practice time that will amplify your time on the mat or meditation cushion. What small lifestyle changes can you make that will improve the quality of your practice? Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
- Can I make some small adjustments to my diet?
- Can I make it a habit of getting to bed on time and or waking up early to allot time for regular morning practice?
- What am I willing to let go of that no longer serves me?
- What role does devotion play in my life?
- Who do I spend my time with, is it supportive?
- Is there a change I can make in the quality of my speech?
Even a small change in any of the above arenas can free up obstructed energy and open up an empowering feedback loop that is bound to add bounce to your yoga practice. Pick one principle and commit to practicing it for 14 days or longer. Better yet, invite a yoga buddy to make the change as well.
4. Your Practice Doesn’t Work Unless You Do
In order for the practices to work, we have to DO them. There seems to be no shortcut around this. No amount of thinking about how one should practice, or reminiscing about past practices will substitute. It is like learning any discipline, if you want to excel and reap the benefits, you need to practice.
This can be the daunting part. However, it does not have to be a huge undertaking. It is easy to assume that only the grandest version of a yoga practice will suffice, and then conclude that, if you are not living up to that vision, than you should quit.
Consistency is the key. No matter how small, what can you do on a regular, sustainable basis? In the words of the immortal Krishna, “Even a little of this practice will shelter you from great sorrow.”
5. Home Is Where The Asana Is
An entire world of revelation awakens when we adopt a home practice! This is the point where we gather up all that we have learned from our teachers and begin to explore our personal relationship to yoga, outside of the bright or candle lit lights of the gym or studio.
One of the most genius aspects of yoga is that nothing outside of yourself is required. All that is required is a breath, a body and a mind. These are things that you take with you wherever you go, including your home. On a very practical level, you can save yourself a lot of time and resources by rolling out your mat in your living room. It does not need to be overly complicated. In fact, the simpler the better.
Practicing at home will also allow you to better integrate the methods. No-thing outside of yourself is require. The best news of all is that all the answers lie within you, waiting to be discovered. Yoga is the world’s greatest experiment in which you are both the subject and the object of investigation. Practicing regularly at home will open the gates of greater love, insight and fulfillment.
I invite you to adopt any one or several of these concepts into your life both on and off of the mat. It is never too late to reinvigorate your practice!
Free Student-Led Yoga Classes
– Dec. 11 & 17
At Axis, we teach the driving principles behind an comprehensive and in depth yoga practice (as opposed to route sequences). Our students have dedicated four months of their lives to learn these principles and will be sharing the final culmination of their understanding in their upcoming practicums. Come experience these one of a kind classes and support these students and they show off the skills they have learned and blossom into full fledged teachers! Click here for more information.
3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC
Free and open to the public.