My daily practice (called sadhana in the yoga world) is one of my favorite parts of my day, because fulfilling the commitment to my practice is my only responsibility. It does not have to be perfect. It does not have to make me feel a certain way, I don’t have to look a certain way, and I don't need to be anything else than what I am to show up and practice something. I'm practicing, not performing. I'm practicing, not perfecting.
I try to do my best at any time but I’m a person who can be paralyzed by the fear of doing something wrong. So, I remove that possibility when I’m practicing. But, as one of my favorite teachers Tommy Rosen says, practice makes permanent. Whatever you do over and over again becomes the thing you do. The way I stop a downward spiral that might get triggered from feeling ‘off’ is that I remember that showing up is the most important part. That becomes powerful once you’ve committed to and achieved an extended series of practices. Most yoga teachers recommend committing to 40 consecutive days as the minimum for ‘a practice’ that will start to have an effect. In 40 days, you’ll have some great days, and some days that are just a struggle. In the end every day is valuable for what you learn.
One of the best things about having a regular yoga practice is that once it becomes habit to connect to yourself every day, it’s much easier to connect to the world outside in a more meaningful way. When you sit on your mat and practice the awareness of your breath, you will naturally develop an awareness of your experience beyond your breath. Ultimately, this enhanced awareness expands in everything from your relationships to your mood to your physical body.
If you want your life to be different, you must do something different. Daily practice is the way to do this.
Committing to doing something EVERY day is a big deal. WHAT you commit to is not. For example, you could begin a daily practice by simply committing to focusing on your breathing for one minute when you first wake up every morning. The commitment does not have to be physically demanding, or take a lot of time.
going for a walk in nature or in your neighborhood
Writing in your journal
Doing 5 sun salutations
Preparing a special tea or other nurturing drink or food
Repeating a mantra
Meditating with your friend or partner
Reflecting on gratitude
These are basic ideas and there are plenty of other things you can make a daily practice that can change your life.
In the coming months, keep checking the blog for more ideas. I’ll be posting meditations and breathing exercises as well as short kriyas that make a good daily practice.