We all have different patterns and relationships with our Yoga practice. Maybe we practice once or twice a week. Maybe we go through periods of practicing and going to class or self practice everyday and then go through a time of yoga drought for long periods of time. What if it gradually becomes harder to motivate yourself to get on the mat? All of these things are normal. The question is how can we ensure we build a loving, rational, steady and long lasting relationship with our Yoga practice? Below are a few attitudes we can be taking during our Yoga practice, that are sure to keep you in a great and loving relationship with your practice, your body and yourself.
Congratulate yourself for getting on to your mat, whether it be at home or in a class. Showing up to practice is the most important step you can take. Sometimes it's not easy. A million things on the 'to do list', feeling tired, feeling unmotivated, there can be so many physical and phycological hurdles to jump over until we finally arrive on our Yoga mat. Then from the moment you begin, give yourself a big and wholehearted 'well done', after all what could be more important than taking time for you to look after your body and soul.
Unconditinally listen, appreciate and love your body
Listen and appreciate your body as it is today. Maybe it feels tired, tight or sore. Maybe it feels great. Either way do not expect, demand, ignore or judge your body during your class. Yoga aims to firstly connect, become aware and accept. After this, a way to transform into the expression of the posture will surely arrive. Image if one day you can easily touch your toes, then the next day you can not. The most loving and Yogic way to go about this is to simply accept that today you are in a different place. Enjoy that new place and the different stretch. Don't ignore the facts and force yourself to go further which could leave you feeling like a failure which certainly is not achieving anything good. Love, accept and enjoy your body in each posture, no matter what. This is surely key to a loving, long lasting and fruitful relationship to your Yoga practice.
No competitions and no judgements, just be as you are
Never compare yourself to other people in your class, pictures or videos on social media or yourself as you where 10 years ago. A yoga class or practice should be a space where you feel you can focus on you. What others think and what others can and cannot do is completely irrelevant You are there to enjoy, breath and feel good for yourself. Yoga is not a competition and you should not allow yourself to feel judged by yourself. Rest assured that your teacher will not be judging you as they will know and understand the Yoga ethics. Be kind to yourself always. Checkout our article about Ahimsa.
'To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.' Thich Nhat Hanh
Smile, shine and be happy!
Yoga can seem oh so serious at times! You know it is absolutely ok and fantastic to smile and even have a giggle at yourself. Allow yourself to feel good in a pose, breath deeply and express the pose to your full potential, which includes your whole wonderful being. No need to shy away and shrink your body in the corner, you are here now and you are wonderful. Send yourself love, approval and positive vibes during your practice and you will feel how your body responds in amazing ways. If you notice any negative thoughts, congratulate yourself for noticing and replace with far more useful self approval and love!
'You are amazing, just the way you are' Bruno Mars ;)
So it's January again! And as ever, we are all thinking up of our New Years Resolutions and goals. Both Aya and I write our usual list of a billion of things to do, goals to achieve, places to go, things to stop doing, things to start doing, our lists are endless. We can imagine we are not alone with this. So what if there was a way to work towards all of this at the same time in a simple and even relaxing way? Well there is. In the practice of Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra can be described as practice of deep relaxation or 'Yogic sleep'
"You can say that the main purpose of Yoga nidra is to realise one’s sankalpa. Whether this is true or not, sankalpa has the potential to release tremendous power by clearly defining and focusing on a chosen goal. Its effect is to awaken the willpower within by uniting the conscious awareness with the unconscious forces lying dormant." (Satyananda)
A Sankalpa is a Yogic resolution, in some way it is similar to our News Years Resolution. The difference is that this one is a life long affirmation, that will grow to improve all areas of your life.
Sankalpa, described as a golden seed, is planted during Yoga Nidra, into the fertile soil of the subconscious mind. (This is when we are asked to repeat our sankalpa during Yoga Nidra/Relaxation). Our subconscious mind is most 'fertile' when we are in that almost asleep state. You can also use a sankalpa in your day to day life by repeating it in the mind, or setting it as an intention during your physical Yoga practice.
So why not take some time to have a think about that one special sentence that could manifest joy, peace, abundance and love in all areas of your life. In fact if you had all these things wouldn't all your goals and dreams already be coming true? And if you already a sankalpa, stick with it, keep it with you and keep it in your practice. It is sure to grow and emerge into lots of wonderful things!
If you would like to practice more Yoga Nidra with us, we always do plenty on our Yoga retreats and workshops. We even have a very special New Years Workshop coming up this Sunday 8th Jan 5-7pm at Islington Arts Factory, checkout the link below to book your place!