Last weekend, I went over to my yoga sister, Shanna’s, to practice in the morning. It took us awhile to get on the mat because Shanna just got back from India, and we had a bit of catching up to do. I missed her so much, and couldn’t wait to give her a super duper extra long yoga hug! We chatted a bit, and eventually made it to our mats.
It was great to practice with her & have her help me in some postures. Ever since I moved into my new place, I have been struggling with my practice. I’ve discussed it in a few posts, so this isn’t breaking news. It’s getting better, but this is the biggest struggle phase I have ever gone through. Usually the hardest part is just making it to the mat, but this time, it’s making to the mat, and staying on the mat.
How To Continue Your Practice When You Feel Like Quitting:
1. Create A Plan to Discipline Yourself:
Sit down and write out what actions and habits you’ve formed that prevent you from practicing, and set a plan into place to eliminate them.
I can’t tell you how badly I want to just give up and quit, and I continually jeopardize my practice. How do I jeopardize my practice? Let me explain! There are three specific habits I need to break:
A. No technology before yoga. This is awful because once I start, I get distracted and can’t stop.
B. Always practice in the morning. I have the tendency to say, “Oh, I’ll just practice at night.” This either never happens, or I feel awful practicing at night. It’s funny how I can’t stand the feeling of night practice. I used to feel lighter and more flexy at night, but now that my body has adjusted to mornings, I just feel heavy from everything I’ve ingested physically and emotionally throughout the day. Even if I feel tired in the mornings, morning practice leaves me feeling lighter and happier for the day ahead.
C. Go to sleep early. My goal is to shut off by midnight. I know that doesn’t seem early to you, but it’s a HUGE step for me. Ever since my job got busier, I started coming home from work later, and then working on blog stuff until 3am. No joke! I have a new time management plan that I literally had to schedule in on my Google Calendar, so I’m about to punch this in the face!
Basically, I need to re-discipline myself. Go to sleep early, wake up early, practice, then technology, work, and blogging. Rinse and repeat!
2. Have a Practice Buddy:
Having someone that you can practice with, or call to discuss your concerns is a life saver! I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m talking a foreign language when I try to discuss yoga with my friends outside of the yoga culture. If you can have a practice buddy that you can talk to without judgement, and because they can relate, it might just be the first step to letting go and moving forward.
When Shanna and I were practicing, she helped me with Marichyasana D and Supta Kurmasana. Those are my two biggest struggles, and postures that I’ve mastered in the past (meaning I can keep a steady breath while keeping the full expression), but now I can’t bind my hands, and they seem so far away.
It’s frustrating. When I’m practicing, I dread those postures. I can feel my chest get tighter, and the anxiety begin when those creep up. You have no idea how many times I try to talk myself into quitting before I get there. Learning to just observe my monkey mind is obviously the real practice here.
Shanna’s Home Shala Below:
The photo below shows the full expressions, so you can see what these postures look like:
After Shanna helped me with dropbacks, she pressed on my back and said, “What are you stressed out, I’ve never felt your body like that before.” In a way, it was refreshing to hear that and have her there.
This all began about four months ago when I moved into my new place, and I haven’t been able to fully connect with what’s been going on inside. Talking with her helped me to look deeper within. I realized by not doing my full practice, I was avoiding the feelings that come up during those postures, and in doing that, I am mirroring that in other areas of my life. Time to face my fears!
3. Practice From A Place of Non-Attachment:
In the video below, Tim Miller says you can’t make excuses about yoga practice if you want to break the conditioned existence. When we practice yoga, we have to come from a place of non attachment. If we feel like our place is messy, we ate too late, or didn’t get enough sleep, then we still need to take practice.
Not taking practice will just enable the bad habits. Rather than avoiding practice, feel what’s going on, and make changes. And, accept that your practice will be tight and feel heavy sometimes. We can’t pick and choose our practice days because that defeats the purpose. We need to learn how to become unattached to difficulties so we can move through life with grace and ease no matter what.
My new place is all carpet, and there is not a lot of storage, so the second bedroom (yoga room) has some things piled up. I never had problems with home practice before, but a carpeted storage room is just not a place that I am motivated to practice in, and it makes it really easy to quit early so I can avoid what comes up during those postures!
I have a Yoga Shala right down the street from me, so I really have no excuse. My goal is to get up every morning, and go there. It’s great to be around a teacher, and with like minded yogis in an environment that feels good to practice in.
When I’m practicing at The Yoga Shala, I still dread those postures, but I don’t let myself avoid them. And, my teacher gives me advice so I can start to connect and let go of the blocks within.
If I’m going to practice at home, I need to be unattached to the fact that I have carpet and boxes. I need to keep my focus on the drishti and take practice. If this means that I need to leave my home practice for awhile, and practice at a Shala to get back on track, then I’m happy to let go, and follow the yoga path.
However, I need to make my place shala ready for when I can’t make it to the Shala, so that’s exactly what I did! The boxes are still piled up against the wall you can’t see, but I cleaned a lot out, and made it a lot nicer for the home practice days!
If you can relate, watch Tim’s video below. It’s long, but just listen while you’re working or cleaning the house for inspiration!