You should do a little yoga every day. It’s what I’ve always heard from other instructors and practitioners. And for a while I went along with the norm when asked, “How many times a week should I do yoga?” But lately, I find myself following up with a little more than the standard response and here’s why. It depends on the individual and on the yoga poses your incorporating into your practice. It’s all about creating balance and space in your life, mind and body. For instance, I recently tried to practice every day for an hour and 1/2 mostly to work on arm balances because my EGO was telling me I should be able to do a certain pose, now. Our ego likes to create a false sense of urgency that we’re not enough, that we’re not doing enough making us feel panicked and overwhelmed.
Practicing yoga everyday is not a bad thing. However, my intention of practicing every day was more ego driven than anything else so I ended up getting sore, tired and burnt out. It also made me have to lay off of my yoga practice completely for a few days, which irritated me even more. I was trying so hard to be more, to get more, to do more that I interrupted the natural ebb and flow that I wanted so desperately to create. Now what I should have done was vary my practice, instead of all arm balances all the time, I should have worked on my hip openers, maybe a few chest openers. What can I say? This yoga teacher can be stubborn at times.
So instead of focusing on the frequency of your yoga or what the norm is, because it’s going to be different for everyone, focus on how your body feels and where you can carve out time to work on a few poses or an individual pose. I say this in my yoga class, “make the pose work for you,” and in this case “make the yoga work for you.” You’re more likely to be consistent in your yoga practice, if it’s accessible and doable for your schedule.
How to create balance in your yoga practice:
1) Schedule your yoga time. Start with 2-3 times a week of consistent yoga practice whether in a class, video or home practice. This helps you build a foundation and for most, is an obtainable goal. It also gives your body a chance to rest or to maybe add a run or weight class.
2) Listen to your body. As you practice yoga you will naturally develop more body awareness over time. The key is listening. So if your body is telling you it needs a break, take one. No yoga pose or practice of any kind is worth injury, ever.
3) Change up your yoga. By being smart and changing up your yoga routine you are able to prevent injury and burn out. For example, if you’re working on arm balances one day, work on hip openers the next, vary your practice. The possibilities are endless with yoga.
4) Be patient. Part of the reason I fell in love with yoga was the challenge. There is always something to learn. While that’s refreshing, at times I forget this and I want to be able to do every pose, now! So remember it takes the time that it takes and that’s okay. Trust the process.
It’s all about creating balance on and off the mat. Sometimes we get in a hurry to rush the process or pose because everywhere we look we see a challenging arm balance or a beautiful backbend that we really want to achieve. Our ego says yes, I want to do all of those poses today! But the enlightening part of yoga teaches us that it’s not about the pose but rather what we learn about our self while reaching for the pose. It teaches us to be kind to ourselves, to let go of judgment and competition with ourselves and others. Be patient, do the work and listen to your body and I guarantee your journey and your poses will unfold beautifully just as they should in their own time.
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