It is through dedicated and regular practice that we make progress along the path of yoga. As with any new routine or endeavor that we begin, after the newness wears off, we need something to keep us going, a reason to continue. Attending yoga class once or twice a week is a good start that will produce benefits over time. However, to continue to grow as a yoga student, it helps to have a home practice. Establishing a daily practice is the best way to begin a yoga transformation.
Notice the Effects
Take time to notice how you feel after a yoga class. Rather than just noting that you feel good or relaxed, break down your observations. Take note of your breath; is it relaxed and even? How does your body feel? Scan your entire body and take particular note of areas where you sometimes feel pain or discomfort. How is your mental state? Pay attention to how you feel on an emotional level and any general sense of ease or well being.
Making these kinds of observations is one way toward establishing a frequent practice. As the body and mind notice specific effects and associate them with yoga, they will want to repeat the experience again. Every time you practice or go to class, you are reinforcing that part of your mind instead of the lazy part that wants to make excuses for why you should skip yoga today.
Regular Yoga Practice
As you listen to the part of yourself that has your own best interests in mind, you will begin to practice more frequently. It may happen slowly or quickly. You may also notice that you begin to practice for longer periods of time. As the mind and body associate a state of wellbeing with yoga, they will want to repeat the experience and have it last longer. Once this begins to happen, you will find that you have a daily yoga practice.
Yoga and Transformation
As your yoga transformation occurs, you will notice that the yogic state of mind and body that you experience after yoga practice lasts longer and longer. You may even find that you feel like this most of the time and less like your “old” self. This doesn’t mean that you can abandon the effort and discipline needed to continue your yoga routine, but it will be easier to come by. The sound of your yoga mat calling you to return will be louder than whatever is telling you to stay away. You have been transformed by yoga.