yogi: practice what you preach

do you feel that your personal yoga practice has taken a backseat to teaching, working, and all your other responsibilities?  does the idea of getting some quality time on your own mat (or cushion) feel like an impossibility?  i've been there. let's face it -- as yoga teachers, entrepreneurs, and often full- or part-time employees, we can stretch ourselves pretty thin (no pun intended).

but, the thing is, teaching yoga is entirely different from practicing & living yoga.

for me, i came to realize that i was holding myself to an unreal standard.  i wanted to be able to take class 2-3 times a week, do a 30+ min home practice the other 4-5 days, and also get in a 20+ min meditation.  sounds lovely, but it was totally unrealistic!  and, because the bar are set unrealistically high, i found that i wasn't practicing or meditating regularly at all.  i would go for days without stepping onto my mat at home and weeks with sitting on my cushion.  something had to give.

and then, after a fabulous weekend-long teacher training, i realized that all of my ideas about what a "good" or "bad" practice was or wasn't were totally fabricated.  the only measure of it was consistency.  it wasn't about the length of time i stayed on my mat, or the peacefulness of my mind during meditation.  it was about showing up with regularity -- whether that be for a 5 min sit with a restless mind and one child's pose, or a 20 minute sit with one-pointed focus, and a fully fleshed-out home practice.  and now, at 71 days, i'm still going strong, because i let go of what a good/bad yoga practice or a good/bad meditation is.  i show up, see what is present, and am (or try to be) ok with what is there -- whatever that may be.  there is no good/bad, there is only practice.

how often do you say to your students something along the lines of: listen to your body, or it's about practice, not perfection, or the most advanced yogi embraces her (current) limitations, knowing they will change?  well, it's time that you take your own advice, especially if you're struggling with maintaining your personal practice.  you need your personal practice to inspire you and your teaching.

here is my challenge to you:

for the next week, commit to sitting & practicing EVERY DAY.

that could mean something as simple as 2 min of deep breathing in a quiet place followed by 3 sun salutations.

remember, it's about practice, not perfection. so, instead of not getting on your mat at all because you don't have 30 min to spare, or practicing inconsistently because you can't get to public classes, just practice showing up.  practice making time for yourself.  practice what you preach.

after the week is up, let me know how you feel.  are you going to stick with it?  (i hope so.)