Sutra 1.14: sah tu dirgha kala nairantaira satkara asevitah dridha bhumih
One of my greatest joys as a teacher is when a student shares with me how the practices of yoga are working (or not working) in daily life. That's where it really counts, right? One of my students approached me last week with a question we all (including yours truly) struggle with to some degree, I suspect. She says, "I have a daily practice and a regular class schedule...and then the holidays happen. How do I keep my practice going through the holiday hubbub?" I'm here to help you. You can do it.
I love to strategize with students to see how the practices can best fit into the everyday. This way, the benefits can continue throughout the week until we see each other next. It's true that yoga has tremendous power to transform. It's also true that a little goes a long way. But do you know what I've found to be the most important ingredient? Consistency. I didn't come up with that one. Patanjali was all over this a few thousand years ago. He writes in the first book of yoga sutras that a firmly established practice occurs when (1) we practice over the course of years; (2) we practice with enthusiasm; (3) we practice without break. In my observation, the first two qualities are easier to come by and the last quality tends to derail when life gets sticky (ie when we need the practice most).
Alright, a confession. I found developing a sadhana (daily practice) to be really, really (really) challenging to implement daily. It took me years to find my rhythm. I have a very active mind which sometimes gets restless in routine. However, with some experimentation, I did find what works for me---and so can you. Believe me, I know. You're busy. Your routine is off. You are bored of sitting in meditation (is it even doing anything, I remember thinking, just sitting here?!). There are shiny things and cookies everywhere. I know.
So as the holidays come bounding at us with all their fun and chaos, my goal this season is to give you very simple yogic practices you can implement on a daily basis to stay centered through it all. After all, when you're centered you can enjoy the wonderful gifts the season has to offer with a healthy body and mind. This holiday season, I'm teaching four times each week at Moksha Yoga Center (with classes for everyone). As usual, each class will be a balanced practice, but I will take extra care to focus on the areas which often get out of balance during the holiday rush. We will discuss ways to incorporate the techniques into daily routine, and each class will also include a small handout of practices you can try throughout the week to find what daily rituals help you stay at your best. As always, I will be available for questions and brainstorming sessions---so don't be afraid to start a dialogue.
See you on the mat this week for part one of...many. Put a class on your calendar (with me or someone else) and make a commitment to your well-being. You are worth it.