How I committed myself to a daily Yoga practice – It’s surprisingly simple…

Daily_Practice

For 8 years, Yoga has been a part of my life.  2 years ago I completed my 500 hr teacher training, and I am now building a career around Yoga with www.yogamate.org – yet despite my keen focus, I still couldn’t seem to commit myself to a daily practice.  That is, until I did this surprisingly simple thing.

I made myself accountable.

Today marks 100 days of a committed daily Yoga home practice – and ‘how’ I did it is surprisingly simple…

If you’ve been wanting to commit to a daily practice, keep reading and join me in the daily practice movement #dailypractice #YogaMLB – here’s how…

Back in August, I was a few weeks out of my prescribed convalescence period from back surgery.
My body was ready for some movement – but despite a few casual efforts to kick start my asana Yoga practice, I’d failed to get going.

You see, August is the middle of winter in Australia.  It had been a cold and rainy Melbourne winter and I was finding it much more appealing to keep the covers pulled up staying in my warm bed than face the dark, cold, dreary winter mornings.

But, my body was beckoning – and as I was traversing some difficult personal issues and I knew that I *needed* to get back into my Yoga.

So – I did something I had never done before.  I made a public announcement on Facebook informing my friends, family and casual acquaintances that I was going to complete a personal 30-Day Yoga challenge.  Just before I pressed submit, I realised that 30 days from that date was my 38th birthday.  ‘How appropriate’, I remembered thinking.

I’m really not sure what made me think to post this on Facebook.  You see, prior to August, I was a fairly light Facebook user.  A post every 3-6 weeks seemed to do me and I will say, I felt a bit exposed on Day 1, when I thought to myself, ‘Gee, what am I supposed to do now? Am I supposed to take a picture of me doing Yoga? A video?’

And video I did.  It felt unnatural, awkward and a good bit silly as I posted my video.  ‘No one really wants to see this’, I thought to myself – but I couldn’t think of another way to stay accountable, so I played with time-lapse so that people could ‘see’ that I was doing my practice where my 50 minute session would be condensed into 30 seconds.

The first few days went by and I was encouraged by my friends and feeling good about my new commitment. But when I awoke on day five, my body was tired, the enthusiasm had worn off, and with personal life challenges at an all-time high, the last thing I wanted to do was get in front of a camera.

What I really wanted was to stay in bed. 

God knows, I wanted to stay in bed.  But – I’d made a public commitment, and I’m a woman of my word.  So out of bed I got.

Making that public commitment was the best think I’ve ever done for myself

You see, had I not made that commitment on Facebook, I would have given myself the permission to skip ‘just this one morning’. And had I done so, my entire plan would have been thrown out the window. I know, for I’ve had past self-improvement plans that have dropped off as quickly as I started them.  Allow an excuse just once and more will follow.

So thank goodness for Facebook! By publicly announcing (and documenting) my commitment, I forced myself to stick it out.

And then the comments and questions really started rolling in!  How long do you hold that pose for? Do you have suggestions for Yoga for tight hips?  Could you send me a daily practice to go by? And by day 15 or so, I’d received so much interest I decided to grab the URL YogaMakesLifeBetter.com (along with a Facebook page YogaMLB) – and I’ve been documenting my journey ever since.

Come Day 30, I patted myself on the back – and rather than celebrate, I upped the ante – increasing my commitment to 100 days. And here I am, day 100!

Not only does it feel good that I met my commitment – but I’ve inspired countless friends, family, acquaintances and friends of friends along the way.  As a Yoga Teacher, I feel it’s my duty to share Yoga with others and this gives me a forum to reach students beyond my weekly class and geographical location.

Will I continue on to 365 days? You betcha.  After 100 days, my daily practice is firmly entrenched in my life – and I couldn’t imagine a day passing without Yoga in my life.  But – my Yoga isn’t always asana (the physical postures).  Some days its breath work or self-study (and it is always Meditation).  What I’m saying is, I’ve realised that what is my Yoga practice doesn’t always make for good video.

So I’m publicly announcing my commitment that I’m going to continue on to 365 days.  I am going to give myself permission to not document it each and every day as I have been doing… but I’ll continue sharing the journey each week for any who cares for a hint of inspiration.  And in truth, I get more out of this commitment than any of my followers – Keeping myself accountable through my daily Yoga practice has indeed made my life better.

Inspired to make your own public commitment?  Join the daily Yoga practice movement – and post your intentions and practice via Facebook to friends and family. Don’t forget to share your journey with me at YogaMakesLifeBetter.com with the hashtag #yogamlb

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How Yoga Professionals can inadvertently be Yoga’s worst enemy

I met a healthcare worker the other day, who, when hearing I’m a Yoga teacher, asked, ‘that’s good for flexibility, isn’t it?’.

‘Yes’, I replied, ‘but it’s got a lot more going for it than that – it’s good for your strength, good for your mental outlook, good for emotional balance… a lot of things…’. I stopped short, realising that in the two minutes I was going to speak with this person, I couldn’t begin to explain the depth and breadth of this amazing discipline*… which made me get to thinking…

After my chat with said individual, I began to think about the jargon and ‘esoteric-ness’ that many Yoga Professionals feel they must continue to impart when discussing Yoga. It’s a bit of

‘I know this and you don’t, so I’m special’

Continue reading

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Beginner’s Hatha Yoga Sequence – Created for my Facebook Friends

So who would have thunk that a spin off of my doing my 30 days of Yoga, that I’d be creating plans for my friends.  Why not, I guess, after all, one of my goals is to help spread Yoga to the far reaching corners of the earth – why not start with my friends?!

I needed to work through how the ‘individual’ planning tool for YogaMate was going to work from a desktop point of view, anyway, so this gave me the push I needed.

In truth, this was pretty painful to put together.  I can see why more teachers and therapists don’t offer this kind of value-add to their teaching! Continue reading

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How the selfie damages Yoga

Today was the first time I’ve ventured onto Instagram.  I know, I know… get with the times already…

I understand (in theory) that Instagram can present a good option for brand building – so I’ve reluctantly signed on with an view as to how and if I can use it for YogaMate.

I thought it might provide me with a ready-made, inspirational image that I could on-share to YogaMate’s Facebook page.

When I nonchalantly tapped ‘Yoga’ into the search bar, a multitude of results swiftly returned that left me dumbstruck… and just a tiny bit deflated. Continue reading

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