“We are always practicing something and most of us practice suffering.”
I came across this quote while I was at a particularly frustrating time in my yoga practice. Frustrating in the sense that I was not practicing enough yoga. Oh sure, I was in the hot room 4-5 hours a day sometimes. But I was not practicing my yoga.
And as a result, I was practicing suffering.
Suffering in the way of joint pain, irritability, jealousy, short-temperedness, you name it.
Amy Weintraub, author of “Yoga for Depression,” and a senior Kripalu teacher recommends practicing yoga every day so that it is as part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.
But how many of us can commit to practicing every single day?
Start small. Classes are a great way to hone your skills and learn from a qualified teacher, but your yoga practice doesn’t have to stop once you step off your mat.
There are many ways you can practice your yoga practice. Here are just five you can start with.
1. Practice breathing
When you’re standing in line at the grocery store or stuck in traffic on the Beltline, breathe in for a count of 6 and exhale for a count of 8.
2. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
Known as “Karma Yoga,” these random acts of kindness are performed without any desire for reward or recognition. Help someone with their bags, plug an extra quarter in the meter in front of the car next to yours, hold the door open for someone. It doesn’t have to be monumental to make a difference in someone’s life.
3. Practice your intention
Sometimes at the beginning of class, we set an intention or dedication before beginning. You can start your day this way as well. Upon awakening, set an intention for the day. Think of a positive affirmation, put it in the present tense, say it three times to yourself. Repeat this mantra throughout your day whenever you think of it.
4. Practice discipline
Known as “tapas”, discipline is that burning desire to commit to and follow through with something. Find ways to practice your discipline whether it be an exercise program, a healthy way of eating, or reaching out to friends.
5. Practice your asana off!
Get thee to class. Yoga classes offer so much more than just toning and flexibility. It’s a social environment in which you can learn together, breathe together and practice loving kindness together as a unit.
Once you learn to bring your yoga off the mat, you’ll find that you can practice anywhere, anytime; truly making your yoga a lifelong practice.
Practice yoga, not suffering.