How to build a sustainable Yoga practice
Do you know this feeling when you tried something new and you really liked it, but somehow you can’t seem to stick with it? It’s what’s happening all the time when we try to create new habits, it can be all fun and effortless at first, but soon, it will get harder to follow through.
Building a consistent Yoga practice can be just as tough. Why? Because it means to commit and to show up time and time again.
From your first ever Yoga class to having a regular practice it can take a long or short time, it highly depends on how quickly you will find a Yoga Style, form of practice and a teacher that works for you. Once you’ve found a style you like, you will feel a motivation to attend classes.
A lot of people tend to drop out after some time when they realize that the style or teacher don’t serve them (anymore). Which is fine, but don’t give up on Yoga. There’s such a huge variety of offers available.
There’s a big difference between a guided or self practice. Essentially, it comes down to what you prefer, and it doesn’t have to be one thing or the other, but really what serves you at any given time! If you’re building solely on self-practice, then the obvious benefit is that you can practice whenever you want and even more so: what you want; what you feel you need in that moment. However, to do that you should have a profound knowledge of asana and alignment, so you can move through different poses without injury. What’s more it can be hard to go out of your comfort zone, or even start with your practice if you’re just by yourself.
Attending classes in a studio or online can provide you with contents that you might not know you’ve needed just then, they will certainly give direct feedback on your alignment and you will most likely develop a sense of responsibility towards your teacher and the other yogis to show up on a regular base. And the good thing is: you can always take your learnings from class into your own self-practice at home.
You only need a mat, right?
If you’re anything like me, you will soon feel a positive impact of your yoga practice on your body and mind and will eventually increase the time on your mat (significantly). However, don’t do too much too fast, because your body needs time to adjust to the type of movement and exertion, e.g. on your wrists!
Whether you practice Yoga on a weekly or daily base - just make sure to listen to your body and take a break if need be. I would also recommend to throw in a different style of Yoga every now and then. Therapeutic or Yin Yoga can complement Vinyasa classes and shift your focus back on alignment and a good stretch rather than being in a constant flow through various asanas.
It’s the same with teachers, really: trying a different teacher can make a huge impact on your practice just by their way of explaining alignment cues.
The good thing about a Yoga practice is that it can be super flexible, there’s no minimum time input or a minimum requirement of certain poses. You can meditate for 10 minutes one day and do a three hour workshop another day and still can call both Yoga.
When building your Yoga practice, be patient with yourself and do hard on yourself when you take a break.
Instead, have compassion with yourself and grant yourself time to get back into it.
However, if you can somehow manage to sign up again, you will most certainly feel amazing!