For me, commitment comes most easily when I am very clear on it’s purpose. My yoga practice has ebbed and flowed over the last 22 years. There have been times, even years, of dedicated regularity, but mostly it comes in fits and starts. What I’ve found, in really looking at the habit, is that when I am more aware of what practice does for me I am most committed.
When I practice, I am less anxious, more present; less worried, more trusting; less controlling, more allowing; less scattered, more focused; less angry, more loving. It makes me a better mother, partner, co-worker, employer, friend. But the bottom line, for me, is this: daily practice squashes my anxiety. That knowledge has been essential to my commitment. I really dislike that feeling in my chest, diaphragm, and belly that creeps in when I haven’t harnessed my physicality through asana and breathed wide and full for at least a few minutes every day. So I practice.
Tomorrow begins the 4th Annual 28 Day Commitment at 8 Limbs, our month-long program (minus a day, this leap year) to support daily practice through daily inspirational and informational emails and a community of 200+ practitioners, including most of the 8 Limbs teachers and staff. Learn more.
If you are joining us, strengthen your commitment by getting crystal clear about why you practice. Make a list of all the reasons––all the benefits, all the ways it enhances your life. Now look for the reason that is above all reasons, the one that you no longer want to live without, the one that disappears when you do not practice. Cleave to this reason, remember it daily, write it on your bathroom mirror, let it guide you to the mat/cushion/alter every day.
I will be there with you, not at the studios, sadly, but at the mat/cushion/alter. A few months ago I decided that February would kick off a year-long sabbatical from teaching weekly drop-in classes.* I’ve been a teacher for more than half my life, but never have I consciously taken a break other than on maternity leave. I will spend this year as a yoga practitioner, starting by taking my first trip to India this month for a Sadhana (the Sanskrit word for practice) Immersion through the Himalayan Institute with my teacher Rod Stryker (and my roommate Chiara Guerrieri!). I am very curious as to what this journey will reveal to me about practice, as I journey to the land where it began. When I get back THEN I’ll see you, side-by-side on a yoga mat.
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, Founder 8 Limbs Yoga Centers