People often ask me how often they should practice. This is a very personal question. Ashtanga yoga is traditionally practiced six days a week, I realise that for many of you it would be challenging to find the time. The truth of it is the more often you practice, the more benefits you get. One of my students Claire, wrote a wonderful blog post about how Some Yoga is Better Than No Yoga. I couldn’t agree more. People often struggle to practice regularly because they don’t know how to keep their practice short. I am able to prioritise a couple of hours daily for my practice, I consider it essential as a teacher to maintain a strong practice of my own. For me it’s an non negotiable part of my day, that helps to shape all other experiences. Whilst it’s great to have time for a full practice, if you can find just 15 minutes to practice, I am sure you too will feel the benefit.
So here is my challenge to you:
For the next four weeks, to practice yoga for at least 15 minutes, I will describe the practice, later in this post as well as giving some top tips to help you stay on track. If you make it to class, then there is no need to do your self practice as well, you’ll have done at least an hour already. You can start your four weeks any time in the next week and start your four weeks from that day. If you’d be willing to blog about the experience that would be great, I am sure others would love to hear about it.
So here is your practice, 5 sun salutation A’s and 3 sun salutation B’s, the last three positions of the closing sequence and 5 minutes of relaxation. If your unsure what I mean by any of this and I am your teacher, ask me in class and I will show you, otherwise ask your teacher. You can of course do a longer practice than that if you have time and you want to, and why not? The more you do the more you benefit. The idea is to find something you can fit into your life every day, 5-6 days per week, I think everyone can find 15 minutes.
Are you ready to give it a go and see how a daily practice can benefit you?
Here are my tips:
- Schedule your practice in your diary if you keep one, at the very least decide when your going to do it the day before.
- Aim for consistency, find a time that works for your schedule and stick to it, this will help it become a habit.
- Be flexible, if you can’t stick to your designated plan, create a plan B.
- Good times to practice are first thing in the morning, in your lunch hour or first thing after work.
- Keep motivated by going to a yoga class, reading a book, watch a video, talking to a friend who does yoga.
- Get support for your home practice by talking to your teacher, if that’s me, I am always happy to help.
- Keep safe, be gentle with your body and don’t push it too hard, learn to respect it.
- If something hurts talk to your teacher, so that they can make some adjustments to what your doing.
- If you miss a day, don’t give up. Learn from it, is there anything you could have done differently if you were challenged like this again?
- This is your time, enjoy it 🙂
Self practice is great once you get motivated, once you have your own mat it’s free and you can fit it around your own life. However we all need to visit a teacher when we can, myself included. I go to classes with my teacher in London as often as I can because it helps keep my home practice motivated, there is always more to learn and there is no substitute for the teacher student relationship and all it cultivates.
So who is going to do January’s yoga challenge? What helps you to practice regularly?