praying mantis expressing the joy of Yoga

As the spring weather draws us outside, one thing that can slide is our Yoga practice.

The Sanskrit word for a steady and regular practice is Abhyasa. The ancients ask that we keep our tools of awareness honed and at the ready for what life will bring us next.

Like Steven Pressfield says about writing, Yoga doesn’t give, it gives back. What you put in you get out, and 10 minutes every few days is more effective than one hour of practice once a week.

Here’s 9 fresh ideas that could help keep your practice steady, or spark up a stale practice.

1. Positive peer pressure: Yoga is a solitary practice, but we don’t have to go it alone. Find a Yoga buddy. take the time to say hello to the people you in your favorite classes. Exchange emails and encourage each other. Your next best friend could be right next to you! Form a posse and head out to some classes.

2. Focus on the outcome:  Remember how good you feel afterwards, and how your practice helps you to be there for others.

3. Upgrade your equipment. The Yoga world is overhyped with merchandise, but… if your mat is Circa 1949, recent advances in mat materials could really make a difference in your practice. 

One of my favorites is the Jade Yoga Mat. No more slipping around, this mat will grab you. If you’re into the power Yoga, a favorite is the Yogi Toes Yoga Towel. no more sliding, Not usually one to follow the herd, but these are really great products. 

4. Blocking off time: Make a commitment. Mark a month’s worth of Yoga classes in your calendar, start realistically, a number that you can follow through on. Treat them like an important appointment with your self. 

5. Use technology:  There are many online services and apps to remind you. it’s easy to have an encouraging note emailed or texted to you on the days/times you wish to practice.

I use this service to remind myself to backup my computer and other tasks that can fall behind.

6. Is there a workshop coming up that calls to you? a new studio or teacher you’ve been meaning to check out? Could you combine your vacation with your practice and join a Yoga retreat?

7. Make a space in your home for your practice. A refuge you can slide into for a few minutes of meditation a day, form a personal altar with art and icons that inspire you.

8. Would some new music spark up your personal practice? I’ve added some new recommendations to the Favorite music link. (left hand column)

9. All this being said, some days it’s just nice to break routine, skip a practice and just be. 

Spend some creative time with your art form, or try something new. Borrow a book on drawing for beginners from the library and see if it’s for you. Take the time to put together a really nice meal, invite someone over to share it. Take a walk in the woods. notice how alive, how aware you are. Taking time to notice the effects your Yoga practice has on your life can keep you coming back to the mat.

Overall, we’re looking to create a practice so sweet that we gravitate towards it, that it becomes something we look forward to, not just another thing on our busy to-do list.

Click on the comments link and share with us what keeps you coming back to the mat.  (you can fake the email address it asks you for)

Om shanti, I’ll see you in class.

-john