“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – Bhagavad Gita
Coming up next month we’re holding our annual 28 Day Commitment program. Each February hundreds of us join together – students, teachers and staff alike – to dig a little deeper (sometimes a lot) into what our individual practices can look and feel like. We do this by committing to practice every day, in some way, for 28 consecutive days.
Although practice is generally something we readily understand, it’s not a fixed something. Our yoga practices have a life of their own. They’re an extension of who we are as we intersect with the world around us. As such, something like a 28 Day Commitment is easier to sustain when we invite a sense of allowing, being open to what arises and unfolds. Trust also becomes our practice ally- being confident in our ability to respond in the moment, even when we don’t have full, if any, control.
Whether this next month you commit to 28 consecutive days or your usual routine, below are 8 ways to foster qualities like allowing and trust to help sustain your yoga practice.
- Do a reality check. When setting intentions, initial inspiration often translates into overly ambitious expectations. Remember it’s easy to add more down the road. What’s often more difficult is persevering when we perceive we’ve fallen short. We suggest reality-checking the intensity of your aspirations at the outset.
- Check-in. Consider scheduling periodic check-in’s, occasions to simply notice how your practice feels in body and life, knowing you can adjust accordingly.
- Integrate quiet. Make a point of folding quieter practices into your overall practice (Yin, Restoratives, Pranayama Nidra & Meditation). The subtle limbs of yoga can be opportunities to metabolize movement practices and insights.
- Remember the periphery. Before stepping up a commitment take stock of things like extra commutes and less energy for daily chores. What could you scale back or suspend accordingly? What supports can you call in?
- Minimize effort. Maintaining a regular practice is rarely effortless, but it need not be effort-full. Map out a practice schedule in advance. Stock up on healthy snacks and easy-to-prepare meals. Make practice dates with friends to reduce pressure on internal motivation.
- Savor the sweet. Your breath, child’s pose, and the supportive presence of fellow yogis are also practice elements worth noting. As Dr. Rick Hanson relays in Hardwiring Happiness, abiding with pleasant experiences strengthens our capacity to feel good more of the time. This makes returning to practice easier.
- Feel the feels. Give yourself permission to be human. Regular practice has a way of stirring things up. If you find yourself agitated or suddenly quite tender, consider kindly telling yourself that your humanness is okay.
- Celebrate. Doing a shout out for commitments also strengthens feel-good neural pathways. Even brief celebrations help seed positive experiences in our brains, available to call upon whenever we could use a reminder of just how capable we are. How will you commemorate the way you show(ed) up over time?
Posted by: Ashley Dahl, 8 Limbs Leadership Coach
To learn more about the 28 Day Commitment program and how to participate, click here.