Get your butt on the mat. Get your butt on the mat. Get your butt on the mat.
I dream of a two hour long home asana practice or even a forty-five minute daily home practice. Heck, twenty minutes to move on my mat without distractions sounds like nirvana.
No one calls me away from down dog.
My tree pose isn’t covered in monkeys aka little people.
My warrior pose isn’t battling sibling rivalries.
My headstand isn’t an all-you-can-eat breastfeeding buffet.
No one pile drives me in savasana.
A long, quiet, peaceful home practice would replenish my body and soul. It would make me a calmer parent, a more understanding partner, a more compassionate human being. It sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? It is. But, I live in the real world and unless I’m having a very Zen day that means I can handle the chaos from this uninvited partner yoga, I leave my mat more frazzled than before I began. Nobody likes a yelling yogini.
I’m not complaining. I chose this life. I just don’t adjust to the shifting realities of it as quickly as I’d like.
When I’m not getting enough sleep, waking up extra early for yoga practice is just not going to happen. And let’s face it; dreaming about a good night’s sleep is about as useful as dreaming about the perfect Tittibhasana. After I am up, I set the best of intentions, but the day inevitably gets away from me. Bedtime routine seems never ending, until I finally pour myself back into my unmade, laundry-covered bed, while saving the idea of clean dishes or a shower until tomorrow. Then just as I am falling asleep, I remember (yet again) that I didn’t get in my home practice (yet again.)
But, you say, if it were really important to me, I would practice yoga every day. I get it. I do. It’s all good.
There are so many things to tend to in a day. There’s no time left for yoga. There are so many things to tend to in a day. There’s no time left for yoga. If it were important to me… Around and around I go.
Actually, I’m going back to that dreamy yoga practice at the top of this post. See ya!
Then, I got post partum depression and if I want to stay off meds, I have to do yoga. Every. Single. Day. Without fail.
So, here’s how I made a home yoga practice every. Single. Day. Without fail.
Let go of the dreams.
Let go of all expectations of uninterrupted, de-jungle gymned, solo asana practice. Let go of needs for peace and quiet. Let go of expectations to evolve, grow or perfect your practice.
Yoga is not meant to be practiced in solitude. Yoga is what you take with you off the asana mat. The practice is what is important because when you practice daily, you will take what you feel on the mat, off the mat and into your life. The practice is the key; not the quality; not the length, but the frequency.
It’s actually one of the core principles of yoga: abhyasa-A tireless dedication to practice for practice’s sake.
Your goal, for lack of a better word, is to create a samskara, or pattern, of inner-space to use when you need it. If you have this comfy rut from your daily practice, you’ll slip into it easily when you need it. When someone small melts down or someone big cuts you off in traffic, you’ll be all Ghandiji about it.
So, now you can let go and really practice:
You do it first thing when you wake up in the morning because that way nothing gets in the way. Forget rolling out a mat, putting on underwear or even brushing your teeth (use the bathroom if you need too, of course, this is not punishment.) The moment your feet hit the floor, go into your asanas.
Oh, and put a note on your bathroom door or mirror if you’re too groggy to remember your practice.
What asanas should you practice?
Pick any three poses that you like. Please don’t pick the ones that look pretty or that you want to “work on.” Choose three that you want to do, you know, as if your yoga practice were fun. Remember you’re not striving to evolve or work on anything. The daily repetition is what is important. If you feel the need to be all yogic about this: repeat Abhyasa or samskara to yourself in moving meditation.
Then go brush your teeth or whatever and let your chaotic day run into bedtime as usual. When you are falling asleep, there won’t be a last second recrimination about not doing yoga.
You can go here to find some suggestions for your three poses.
Now, if perchance you get to a yoga class or if shockingly you get two hours when your partner takes the kids and the dog out on a Sunday afternoon, you may choose to practice yoga. But, if you choose to make some tea and read, you can give yourself permission, knowing that you already practiced yoga that morning.
And, if you do forget to do your three poses in the morning (it’s going to happen sometime) you can always do them whenever you do remember. It’s the abhyasa that’s important.