Updated: Jul 29, 2020
"Yoga is a powerful tool for liberating ourselves from unwanted, ingrained patterns.” ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga opens our eyes to a fresh perspective. Presumed limitations are mere obstacles manufactured by the finite potential of the mind. In shifting your patterns of thought, you will change the outcome of your destiny. If you’re not sure what those patterns are, pay attention to the flavour (themes) and content (details) of your thoughts in the course of a single day.
Journaling is an excellent way to uncover negative thought patterns and to move towards intentional living. Writing a gratitude list is one example of how the smallest things can profoundly impact our overall perspective.
1. Create Space
It's important to create a space in your home that is exclusively yours. Yoga is a meditative, contemplative, and introspective practice; it is also a lifelong journey, if you want it to be. The Yoga Sutras tell us that consistent practice over time will bring results. And the more enthusiastic you are, the better!
The more often you get on the mat, the more you want to get on your mat. But until then (and afterwards, too, sometimes), it helps to define a measurable goal. If you desire a practice with longevity, a constant companion and resource throughout your entire life, simple and easily achievable goals are a must. Depending on your starting point, I don’t recommend challenging yourself to 75 minutes of Power Yoga five days a week. This is a set-up for disappointment and sets an uninspiring tone. Establish a friendly relationship with your practice that puts competition aside and prioritizes enjoyment. No expectations. You will come to love and honour this sacred space.
2. Set Measurable, Achievable Goals
Let’s say you decide to spend five minutes a day journalling, reading an uplifting book, doing some yoga postures and deep breathing, meditating, or simply being still. Having a space dedicated to this purpose will reinforce the habit. You don't need a lot of room—a corner in a spare room or in your bedroom will do—but ideally it's somewhere that you can enjoy time uninterrupted.
I use a small table for incense, a candle, some pictures, and plants for decor. These things create a vibe entices me to enter. It’s my favourite spot in my home. You might keep a journal or notebook here, a devotional image, motivational sayings, sacred texts, or inspirational writings—it’s yours to decorate however you like!
3. Consistency is Key
The best time to practice your new habit is the most likely time you will commit. When I can, I love to practice in the morning. It leaves me feeling wide open for the day and frees me from the excuses to not practice that would clutter up my mind. Other days, when I'm really tired, I sleep instead. If I wake up late, I spend 10 minutes instead of an hour, and that's good enough. Yoga is a compassionate discipline rooted in self-care; it welcomes space, flexibility, and awareness. If once a week is what you've got, it's better than nothing at all.
Do what it takes to get excited about this process, until the process excites you to do whatever it takes to engage. This discipline is the keystone to inner peace and unwavering joy.