Monday, September 27, 2010

Making time for your practice

Yoga helps to calm, revitalize and energize our minds and bodies. Strangely, just at the times when we need these benefits the most, we convince ourselves we couldn't possibly take time out for yoga! We all do it; put ourselves at the bottom of the to-do list. But thankfully there are a number of ways to integrate yoga into your life without neglecting your other responsibilities.

1. Ask your teacher or studio for the times that suit you best. At our Studio we really appreciate when students tell us what they want - and when they do, we do our best to offer it. Recently a group of yogis requested a 6am class - early mornings meant they could get out for their practice without disrupting the family morning routine or their ability to get to work on time. They asked and we were able to deliver.

2. Commit to a certain number of practices each week. Be flexible with the days and times you attend, coming when your life allows, but know how many times you'd like to practice and encourage yourself to make it happen. When you nourish your mind and body with yoga you're really nourishing the other people in your life too. The benefits of a steady yoga practice travel far and wide.

3. Practice yoga whenever and wherever you can. For a long time I was worried that if I didn't practice for at least an hour it really didn't count. Now I realize that any yoga is good, even just 10 minutes here and there. When I need a break from typing I stand up and do a few minutes of breathing and stretching. When I need a little pick-me-up in the afternoon I jump into some fun inversions. A longer practice has its benefits, but short spurts of yoga can help you feel good and make the practice a more ubiquitous part of your life.

4. Use your teachers as resources. At Shakti Yoga Studio we're always tossing around ideas for sequencing or for interesting asana variations. Want to know how to work towards a more challenging pose? Ask us! Want some suggestions for a simple sequence to do at home? We probably have a great photocopy to pass along. All our teachers are happy to help you along your yoga journey in whatever way they can.

During the summer we thought long and hard about how to help you get more yoga in your life. In the end we added an extra evening time slot at 8:30pm so you could get home from work, get supper on the table and maybe even put the kids to bed before indulging in a little "you time". We also put more options for both gentle and dynamic classes on the schedule. Now you can take Yin Yoga, Detox Flow, Gentle Yoga, Ashtanga, Hatha or Power Yoga depending on your mood! There are lots of options to keep you interested in your practice.

In the end, any yoga is better than no yoga, so if you miss a few days (or a few weeks) don't feel bad. Just remember how great yoga makes you feel and then roll out your mat for a practice.

Happy Yoga-ing!

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