Keeping Your Practice Alive

by Shanti Walling

        Imagine a beautiful garden, lush and green, blooming with the fruits of your labor. Think about the time and attention it would take to not only grow the garden, but to maintain it and work with its changing needs. Now imagine how the garden would look if it was not tended to for a week, a month, or a year. At first it might not look much different, but over time the lush green would fade, the fruit would dry, and weeds would begin to take over. In many ways our yoga practice is like the garden. Without constant care and attention, it too can begin to fade and become dry.

         A consistent and inspired practice is key in maximizing its benefits. We are all creatures of habit to one degree or another. In our yoga practice it is perfectly natural to gravitate toward a style, teacher, or schedule that is comfortable to us. This can present a challenge in our practice in the sense that if we always stay in our comfort zone we might be stunting our growth. If we want to grow, we have to accept discomfort that may come along with what we need personally for that growth. The moment we are called outside of our comfort zone we tend to begin resisting. Lack of growth can mean fizzled inspiration. It is easy to lose interest if there is no excitement about progress. Our inspiration is the “key” ingredient in a consistent and growing experience.

       This is not to say one should always be changing styles and teachers. Consistency and routine are also important in maintaining a grounded practice. The growth, strength, and inspiration that results in unwavering commitment to show up to the yoga mat can be like fertilizer for our practice and fuel for the challenges that lay ahead. This will keep you inspired, your body strong and supple, and your yoga practice alive.

November 2018