Get Passionate About a Home Practice by Margaret Kirschner

As summer winds down and the kids return to school, my life seems to get busy fast.  The lazy days of summer are replaced with a full schedule, my house feels cluttered, my body reminds me that I haven’t stretched nearly enough in weeks, my mind is easily distracted and my yoga mat slumps in the corner of the room, seeming to mock my slacker attitude.   I feel as if I’m chasing life around rather than participating in life.  I make time for an occasional yoga class with the result being a clear, calm and energized feeling on my way out; but it’s time for me to get passionate about my home yoga practice.

But how do I take that feeling from the yoga center and transfer it to my home?  I realize that I need an attitude adjustment.  I’ve made the decision to put my self-care front and center.  I’ve noticed that when I take good care of myself, it increases my capacity to be with discomfort without freaking out. Those knee-jerk reactions while driving my car, that anxiety while waiting in the dentist’s chair, and that incessant inner- critic can all be observed and felt without judgment; which brings me a healthy sense of self-awareness.  If I can see myself clearly without judgment, I can live with others with more compassion and patience.  That’s proof enough for me that yoga works.

When it comes to yoga, consistency is more important than intensity.  I know that practicing for 10 minutes every day is more beneficial than a weekly class of 90 minutes.  But there’s one thing I know about myself (and I’m pretty sure you’ll recognize yourself in here too), I have a tendency to get in my own way.  So I’ve listed my common obstacles and the solution that I will apply when my “monkey mind” jumps in to distract me once again (note that both my obstacles and my solutions are all in my mind).

I’m too busy.  I can do 10 minutes of yoga today.

I’m overweight.  Ignoring my body will not help my self esteem nor help me return to a healthy weight.

I’m too old.  Everyone else is getting old too.  I am aware of my attachment to an idea that yoga asana needs to be practiced in a certain way.  I can practice in a new way.

I’m rehabilitating an injury. My physical limitation will teach me how to respect my limits while allowing me to explore new movement possibilities.

I’m a recovering perfectionist.  I will throw away the media influences and just move and feel, breathe and release, observe and allow whatever reveals itself to be my perfect “teacher of the day.”

I’m too tired.  Yoga gives me more energy than it expends.

I can’t afford it.  It costs nothing to reach and breathe.  I don’t need special clothes, a sacred space, props or even a mat.

Now that I’ve exhausted all my typical excuses, it’s time to make a plan.  Instead of muscling through poses in an attempt to reach some impossible idea of perfection, I’m going to find 10 minutes of joy in my simple yoga practice at home.  I’ve committed to a daily 10 minute practice ( in writing on my calendar) with a different focus each day to keep things fresh.

  • Monday: a morning wake-up sun salutation flow to jump start my week.
  • Tuesday: a mid-afternoon core strengthener sequence to empower my will.
  • Wednesday: One stress-less restorative relaxing pose before bed.
  • Thursday: a fun, funky flow set to my favorite music after work.
  • Friday: a “peak pose” to inspire me to reach further.
  • Saturday: a “my body rocks day”.  I listen to guidance from my body and just move, breathe and feel.
  • Sunday: An “align and refine” sequence to help me focus on form.

I promise myself I’ll show up in this precious moment, breath by breath, in the body I have right now, in the wonderful, messy life that is unfolding for me today.  Just do more yoga, y’all.