October 10, 2013

The Best Day to Practice Yoga is Today.

Like many, I have encountered and continue to encounter many obstacles in my yoga practice. (Tight hips, a chronic shoulder injury, etc.)

Hands down, though, the biggest obstacle I ever encountered was working up the courage to take that first class.

The first time I ever saw an actual yoga class was at TriYoga in London. I remember being in awe of the woman in front of me who was doing what I later learned was urdhva dhanurasana or wheel pose. I remember how peaceful both she and the instructor appeared.

However, I was not there as a student. I was actually there for a massage. (As it happens, I was on my way to the massage room when the massage therapist asked if I would like to see a yoga class. The practioner and instructor were gracious enough to let me observe for a few minutes.)

I thought about what I saw for several days afterwards. I wanted to try it for myself, but it took nearly six months before I actually took my first yoga class and another year before I started practicing regularly.

The reason for it was simple: I was always waiting for “tomorrow”—or, rather, when I had more time, more energy or felt in the mood.

Needless to say, tomorrow would come and I would delay another day and then another.

My story is not atypical. When I tell people I am an instructor, usually someone says, “I would love to practice yoga but I can’t until I lose some weight/have more time/my life is less hectic/etc.”

I point out that if most us waited for any of the above, very few of us who practice or teach regularly would have ever made our way into our first yoga class.  

Often times, it is because of the uncertainty and chaos in our lives that so many of us yogis become hooked on yoga.

When people ask me when is the best time to start a practice I usually say that now is the perfect time, because it is.

I think of that famous quote of Patanjali’s: “Yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind.”

It is not about mastering the poses.

As a working mother, I often need to remind myself that despite the other things going in my busy, complicated life, most of them can wait or will still be there after practice.

Just taking the time to unroll your mat and observe the breath may be all the yoga you can squeeze in today, but it is still yoga and—more importantly—it is time you are setting aside for yourself.

For that reason alone, the best time to start a yoga practice is today.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo: via Susánica Tam}

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