"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 flavor and content and 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.
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 so wish. 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 yoga 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 committing to 75 minutes of power yoga five days a week. This is a set-up for disappointed and sets an uninspiring tone for your practice. Establish a relationship with your practice that doesn’t have to “live up” to any expectations. You will come to love and appreciate your sacred space.
Set Achievable and Measurable Goals
Let’s say you decide to spend five minutes a day journaling, reading an inspirational book, doing some yoga postures and deep breathing, meditating, or simply being still. Having a space dedicated exclusively to this purpose will help solidify 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 a space you can enjoy uninterrupted.
I use a small table for incense, a candle, some pictures, and sometimes even flowers to decorate my space; it creates an energy that strongly entices me to enter. It’s easily my favourite room in my home. You might keep a journal or notebook here, an uplifting or devotional image, motivational sayings, sacred texts, or inspirational writings—it’s yours to decorate however you like!
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 rest of the day and frees up the mental space that might otherwise be spent making excuses to avoid a later practice. It sets the tone of my day going forward. I hope that one day this morning ritual will be set in stone, but today it’s a work in progress. When 6:00 am just isn’t going to happen, then I practice whenever I can. Yoga is a discipline that welcomes space, flexibility, and ongoing growth. Once a week is better than nothing at all.
Do what it takes to get excited about this process. In just 5 minutes a day you will improve flexibility, increase strength, hone your concentration, and most importantly—discipline the mind. This discipline is the keystone to inner peace, contentment, and achieving your goals.
Here are some yoga practice MP3s and PDF sequences to get you started!