Yes. I do. Everywhere we go there are studies, news articles, blog posts, statistics, Facebook feeds and fellow yogis telling us to practice every day. Yoga is in our schools, gyms, therapists’ offices, vacation resorts, airports, baseball parks…even at the winery and brewery! There’s also a trending hashtag #yogaeverydamnday.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I put pressure on myself to practice yoga asana (poses) every day, or commit to anything daily for that matter…I don’t. It’s not that I don’t love yoga–I do! I love the personal challenge, I love the calm and I love the end result: a better Me. That being said, I have two elementary-aged children, a husband, three aging dogs, one spirited cat, a fish and two, yes TWO, full-time jobs. I also enjoy spending downtime with my girlfriends. I have an exercise group 2 times a week. I also run distance races and need to incorporate training for those to the mix! Adding a physical yoga practice everyday is scary. Where in the world am I going to fit in that practice? Before I wake up at 5:30 AM to teach? After I’ve taught 4 classes a day and did my “regular job” and picked up my kids from school? Did I mention that I’m also an active coordinator in the PTA and a Girl Scout Daisy’s co-leader??
That’s where a majority of us (myself included) have a misconception about yoga. Yoga everyday does not mean a full hour of sweaty vinyasa. It does not mean rushing off each day to a class at a studio or gym and working on that pose you’ve been struggling to nail. It does not just mean the physical asana. I practice yoga everyday and I do not practice asana everyday. If I could, I would!
Here’s what practicing yoga everyday means to me.
-I meditate 20 minutes a day. This is the one non-negotiable in my schedule (more on that in another post.) I’ve been known to meditate in the bathroom at a bachelorette party, in the Wendy’s parking lot by the drive-thru, in the park with shades on and ear buds in so I don’t look like I’m sleeping, in the parking lot before preschool pick-up and in the car with all those people I mentioned above, in the backseat, on the way to Hershey Park.
-I try my best to practice the Yamas and Niyamas of yoga. Again, more on that later, but The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali discuss the 8 limbs of yoga-all defining actions that lead us to a more fulfilling life. Ahimsa, non-violence towards others is one of them. I am a strict vegetarian for moral reasons. I am also not a “fighter”. Verbal altercations with me are far and few. Don’t get me wrong: I do get angry at people but I try my best to not get so worked up…and that’s HARD.
-I do practice the physical component of yoga as much as I can. I seek out teachers that will guide me and help me advance my practice. I am loyal to classes and make them ‘appointments’ on my calendar. I love my teacher. When I can’t get to a class I move on my mat, it may not be a full hour- it may very well be the 15 minutes before I have to leave for pick up at school.
-I read. A LOT. I read for 10 minutes, more if I don’t fall asleep, before bed. I have stacks of books on my nightstand. A full library and stashes of books all throughout my house and on my kindle. My amazon wishlist is over 350 items long, majority of them are books. Continual education on anything is critical. I can’t be a good teacher and practitioner if I’m not continuing to learn.
The goal of this is not to make anyone feel bad about not practicing yoga and it is not to justify my own practice and dedication to yoga. I just hope, that even one person, realizes that you can practice yoga everyday. Take a few moments to yourself. Breathe. Notice your physical body that day, where are you sore or where do you feel great. Treat others with kindness. Try to be a good person, someone that others would want to be around. Be a positive example for others. To Me, THAT is practicing yoga every day. #theeverydayyogi
Yours in healthy practice,