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How much Yoga is enough? Consistency is key.

June 19, 2012

One day, a student of mine was surprised to hear that coming to a Yoga class once a week was not sufficient for progress. It occurred to me that what is sufficient might be a nice topic for a blog.

Consistency is key. Patañjali spoke about consistency of practice in his Yoga Sutra 1:14:  Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih

Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly and with devotion over a prolonged period of time. – Translation by Edwin F. Bryant

How much Yoga is enough? Yoga was designed to be practiced every day to receive all the many benefits it offers; however, this doesn’t mean the same Yoga poses every day. But it may mean attending more Yoga Classes during the week.

  • Try mixing it up by attending different classes that have a different focus, such as Restoratives, or classes with a special focus such as Low Back and Hips, attend a Flow class, or learn something new by returning to the Fundamentals or trying a different teacher.

A consistent Yoga practice also means adding a few days of Home practice. If a Home Practice seems daunting, let me describe my own experience. At home, I can listen to my own desires and address my personal needs in my practice. Taking care of my body in this way is rewarding, and fulfilling.

Yoga Class time is essential, but a Home practice is satisfying and inspiring. It hones your ability to identify your state of being each day:  are you stressed and anxious, full of energy and excitement, lethargic or irritable? By getting better at acknowledging our current state, our compassion for ourselves increase, and we learn how to care for ourselves with a Home Yoga practice.

Aids to support a Home practice:

  • Try journaling, simply writing down the poses you perform at home, every time you practice. Include in your journal how you feel prior to your practice, and how you feel after your practice.
  • Schedule yourself for a private lesson with a Yoga teacher, to get a personalized Yoga sequence that is designed specifically for you. The hour lesson provides you with a sequence you can take home to practice. Rescheduling a private lesson regularly keeps your home practice fresh and moving forward.
  • Begin. Remember what Iyengar says, “take action, no matter how small”. Iyengar himself says that his practice changes each day, according to how he feels. Some days he doesn’t feel much like practicing, but he always begins. Once he has begun, his practice might continue and blossom, and it might not, but he won’t know until he begins.

With all of that in mind, if attending a Yoga Class only once a week is all your schedule allows, that will have to be enough. Yoga will meet you wherever you are. Your flexibility and strength will be helped, just much more slowly. Bottom line is, find more time for your Yoga practice, and enjoy more results.

Santosha Yoga is encouraging our students to attend more classes during the month by offering The Rest of the Month Free, after attending 12 classes! This is a great offer, and one that shouldn’t be missed. Try committing to a regular, daily practice and see for yourself the benefits of Yoga that are quickly and exponentially noticeable.

Also, Gary’s next workshop just happens to be “How to Practice Yoga” and will be held on Saturday, August 25th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Megan permalink
    June 25, 2012 3:03 pm

    “Take action, no matter how small,” that’s my favorite quote. I have some trouble being consistent with home practice but that phase really helps me do a few poses when I roll out of bed in the morning. I’ve also been keeping a binder of my favorite articles on poses from The Yoga Journal — the free online version. If I put that binder on the floor and flip it open I find myself interested and then practicing — almost like magic.

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