Almost ten years ago 8 Limbs started an annual ritual called the 28 Day Commitment. We chose February, a bit removed from the resolution madness of January and the shortest month of the year, and have continued in some form or another ever since!
Our aim was to invite rather than challenge, and empower, a commitment from the inside rather than a goal set on the outside. We wanted more people to experience the benefits of daily practice, sadhana, and worked to provide resources to support this.
This year we are simply offering this reminder to practice daily, in some way. In the Yoga Sutra, the sage Patanjali speaks of practice, abhyasa in Sanskrit, as “the ardent effort to retain the peaceful flow of mind free from roaming tendencies” (translation by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait).
Daily practice does not have to mean an hour plus yoga class, it can be five minutes of sitting to take complete breaths – inhale smooth and steady for five counts, exhale even and continuously for five counts. It can mean a walking meditation, cooking mindfully, or being fully present with another being. You can practice with one downward facing dog pose.
For me, right now, daily practice is a commitment to move through eight sun salutations and sit for either pranayama or meditation (or both) for at least ten minutes a day. I also take classes and workshops, but this is my baseline. This type of commitment has served me over the years. Many of us – your teachers, your fellow students – struggle with regular practice. It can help to know a community is behind you as you find a way you want to commit.
We cherish this annual ritual of shared dedication to regular practice in February and offer a simple theme for 2021: Re-envision. The past year has taught us to reconfigure how we move through the world, our own homes, and our yoga practice. Let’s harness that flexibility and set our sights on new ways of showing up for ourselves and others!
Click here for 28 Day Commitment resources and to learn more.
We’ll return to our journey through the eight limbs of yoga in March with dhyana, meditation. Til then, may your February be full of love and kindness.
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, 8 Limbs Founder and Director of Education & Programming