Since returning from India and even in the run up to leaving, one of the main concerns voiced by the students was: ‘how do we keep up this lifestyle at home?’
Although getting up every morning at 6am was often a massive schlep, followed by a completely knackering and action packed day of lessons and asana practice, we all felt weirdly energised and loved having a routine. Was this structure and discipline possible though, once we were all home? Once we were back working a 9-5, surrounded by many who don’t have a desire to practice yoga and constricted by other various commitments.
The answer we continuously were told was, YES! Yet, thinking back to how I usually got with my yoga practice, even when I had the best laid plans, this wasn’t particularly comforting. As the weeks went by we discussed in more detail how to make sure our yoga practice continued and how it could be introduced into the simplest of everyday tasks. I have been putting these into practice since my return (even when I have had the most horrific cold) and although it hasn’t been quite as rigorous as the past month, I am still feeling the benefits!
To do this, I have simply set myself some small tasks to include within my day to day routine. Examples of these are as follows: breath rhythmically through my nose; sit with a straight spine; minimise my intake of sweets and processed foods. In addition to these three things, I get up each morning and make sure I do around an hour of asana and pranayama practice. This doesn’t not have to be particularly rigorous but just taking the time to stop and focus on yourself is important, whether it is 10 minutes or 2 hours. None of these things are something that I manage continuously and without fail every day but I have at least become conscious of when I am not doing them and then try to change that.
These simple tasks are so easy to incorporate that even when your ill or running about like a crazy person, you can combine yoga into your life. The important thing to remember is that asana is not the only way to practice yoga. Due to this being the area most focus on, other key elements of yoga are often forgotten – others which are equally as important. In order to embody yoga, to allow it to manifest itself within daily life is more to do with your outlook and mind set, rather than just how far you can wrap your leg around you head. Yes, asana is necessary to keep your body in a strong and supple state but breathing regularly and consciously; questioning and learning about the world; acceptance and understanding – these are equally and potentially, more beneficial to your inner wellbeing and for those surrounding you.
So, keep up with those downward dogs and warrior ones but challenge yourself to an additional three things which you can practice throughout the day. This could be anything from complimenting someone once a day to sitting cross legged at your desk at work! Don’t feel deterred if you feel your yoga practice has vanished and been lost due to a lack of asana but instead ensure you make up for it by incorporating other small but beneficial actions instead.
I am definitely going to keep it up and I plan on adding and adding to my list, until they all become completely natural and effortless within me.