Ashtanga Police

Commitment has a downside. When practicing Ashtanga Yoga we commit to practice 6 days a week. And yes, there are days, when I can’t manage to get up that early. Days when I feel weak. Days other plans cross badly. 

However working at home allowed me all of a sudden to practice in the morning, bringing more flexibility into my life. What a relief! And still, there are weak spots. The moment I notice I won’t practice at all, or time only allows for half the series, or I even practice and test a class I will teach later that day instead of doing my practice…. I feel bad. 

I can hear the Ashtanga Police knocking on my door. Guilty.  

Isn’t this – yes, bullshit. Let’s get it clear: 

Listening to my body has become my priority. When not feeling good, I go slow and I listen, I feel. Eventually practice less, or do Yin Yoga. I might even just sit and meditate, followed by some pranayama. 

When I didn’t sleep the night, staying one hour longer in bed might be more important. Being prepared for my classes a must and this too can be my practice once in a while. Everything is practice.

There is no Ashtanga Police 😉 They won’t come and knock on my door to put the guilty stamp on me. It’s this voice in me talking. Time to make a deal with this voice and send the so called Ashtanga Police to the land where the pepper grows. And once and for all, stop judging myself.

Guess what? This too is Yoga. This too is commitment.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

Home Practice

Have you established a home practice yet? No? Let me tell you why this is a great idea and what helps to set it up. It’s so much more than just move and stretch your muscles! Commitment to a home practice – ideally 6 days a week (I know…!)  is a commitment to self-discipline and part of a transformation into a healthy body and mind. It will be the start of something great, it will change you. And yes, the difficult part is showing up on the mat. The easy part is, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing and how long, as long as you’re practicing. Even this will change over time!

First things first – why it’s so damn good for you

  • You will develop a personal discipline, which won’t stop at your mat, but support you in all parts of your life
  • You will create a healthy habit, which might make you more aware of health in general
  • It will allow you to tune and play your own instrument: the body
  • It will soothe your soul, feed your spirit and make you a more efficient practitioner in the world
  • You will learn and appreciate to be alone

Bring it on – how you will succeed

  • Set a fix time that suits your daily schedule. Even if morning first thing is most efficient and recommended, it has to fit into your life so you can stick to it. Of course it can be different during the week and on the weekends! Whatever works for you.
  • Create an inspiring surrounding – if you have a spare room, decorate it to feel good there. If not, no problem at all, make it nice wherever you enroll your mat. Maybe a nice view out, you might want to light a candle, turn music on, diffuse essential oils, whatever it is that makes it inspiring for you, will make it easier.
  • Be committed to show up, no matter how long. Start easy. Define how many times a week and go from there. Even if everything inside tells you no no no, not today! Roll out your mat and practice.
  • There might be days you just sit down to breathe for 5 minutes. Alternatively, a 10 minutes meditation, maybe a 60 minutes asana practice. That’s great, job done.

Take it easy, but stick to your commitment! It is a huge step, but so worth it…. Go for it yogi! Remember, you don’t have to start at 100%, a step by step approach will help to slowly get used to it. Whenever you don’t manage to stick to your commitment, notice how this feels. Laugh and call it a day, you’re not supposed to be wonderwoman or superman 🙂