You are starting to take on yoga as part of your daily routine with the hopes of eventually making it a permanent part of your life. Despite knowing you will try your best, you are worried about leaving it half way just like what has previously happened with many other things you have had pursuit in life. Things at work seem to become priorities, relationships ask more of your time, there’s also family to think about, cleaning the house, cooking… yoga can easily get lost in the avalanche of things to do. So, what exactly can help you with keeping up with the pace of this new exiting yet challenging practice while you still take care of other things that normally form a part of your life? Despite the fact that there is no real set of instructions that will magically inject you an eternal dose of motivation, here are some simple ideas of how to encourage yourself during the first phase of your yogic training.
It Is Only Your Own Pace That Counts
Whether you are attending a yoga studio or collecting yoga videos and books to guide you as you practice in the comfort of your own living room, the only thing that matters now is yourself. Do not compare yourself or your progress with that of others. Instead, get to know your body, mind, and inner Self. Which asanas or poses feel lighter and easier for you? Which asanas feel uncomfortable or too demanding for you? What about your focus during your practice? Is your mind running fast and dispersed or do you manage to concentrate in your breath and body as you maintain a pose or as you progress from pose to pose? Unfortunately, we have been conditioned since young to constantly look outside ourselves for acceptance, reassurance; safety and a sense of worth; all of which had lead us to feel confusing and often painful emotions. Yoga is a practice that you can call home; you can learn to be patient with yourself, to forgive yourself, to share a moment of quiet with yourself, and most importantly, to learn to see yourself under the light of compassion.
Take Your Practice Out of the Mat
The more you learn about the rich philosophy that surrounds yoga, the more you will realize all the benefits that you can bring onto yourself and onto the hands of all the sentient beings that live in this planet. Get your hands on ancient yoga texts and set out some time to read during weekends, then put some basic yoga philosophy related exercises into practice throughout your day to day life. You can, for instance, spend some time in silence, meditate, practice non-judgment, awareness, non-violence and giving. Pay close attention to what you feel and how you feel when you include these concepts in your day to day life and then enjoy the grace that comes with these simple yet magnificent achievements.
Another recommendation is to take up ten minutes of your day to read texts that nourish and inspire you. You can go through books written by Indian or Tibetan gurus; maybe texts from Gautama Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Osho, Ramakrishna, the Bible, or something written by whoever that happens to represent a hero for you or a person, character, or story who or which you deeply admire.
For many people, waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning may sound insane but getting up at this monastic time when the birds start singing, the rest of the world is still quiet, and the sun is about to rise brings many advantages. In Indian philosophy, waking up thirty minutes before the sun rises is believed to allow you to synchronize with the sun and open an access to supreme knowledge and eternal happiness. Try it out for two days and experience it for yourself.