I struggled for a long time to build a personal yoga practice outside of the studio. In fact, #confession: I still do. I absolutely love going to take classes. It’s my way of not having to think – just listen and do. I love that I get to connect with other folks in the yoga community, even if it’s just a simple hello or a friendly smile. There’s something wonderful about sharing space with like-minded people. Plus it’s a great way to get exposed to new poses, transitions, flows, and even theories and concepts. I always walk away from class with another tool in my tool belt, so to speak.
But there is something to be said for taking some time away from all the rest of the world and building your own practice free, from distraction and outside influence. It’s a very vulnerable thing to get on your mat, take an honest assessment of who you are in that moment and to move with compassion and authenticity. It’s probably one of the reasons I actually have a hard time doing it. I find that I get so caught up in playing the game of life, that I actually avoid losing that momentum by stopping to listen to myself. It’s something I am always working on.
One of the other things that can make a personal practice difficult to start or to maintain is knowing where to start. I think the best way to approach this is that there is no wrong way to start. There are no wrong poses or even wrong order as long as whatever you are doing feels right in your body. Likewise, there is no right or wrong length of time to practice, or frequency to practice at. It’s all about doing what’s right for you. For a long time I thought I wasn’t keeping a personal practice if I didn’t practice for an hour a day. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t commit to that. But in reality, that’s a completely arbitrary number! Even 5 minutes a day, or even every other day counts. And if you can’t find time to get on your mat then do some breathing or visualization instead. It all counts.
So my best advice to those looking to pick up a personal practice is this: Let go of any ideas about what you think your practice should look like, and just focus on finding something that works for you. give yourself 5 minutes or 30 minutes or a hour. It’s doesn’t matter because your practice is just that – yours. You are always in the driver’s seat.