Ridin’ Dirty – Getting Back Into Your Daily Practice
I have had a daily or almost-daily practice for close to five years. It started off with a daily exercise regime, then I became a yoga teacher and that reset my schedule to include daily meditation and yoga. Over the years, it’s become a lot looser; I exercise daily, practice some form of yoga, whether it be breath work or meditation or asana. I don’t over think it, but I knew I needed it- every day.
Then I got pregnant.
In the beginning I had a lot of resentment towards having to let go of my daily regime. I couldn’t workout the way I wanted to anymore, I couldn’t do my regular asana practice and all breath holds were out. Over the course of the last 7 months, I’ve taken up swimming, tried to keep walking as much as possible and listened to guided mediations, totally uninspired by any of it.
In the past few months, my world has been turned upside-down. Instead of a goddess-celebration and a deep connection to this new spirit in my body, I’ve been utterly distracted by drama, a father with addiction issues and two families pulling me in either direction. I probably needed my practice more than ever, but I had already fallen off that wagon ages before.
Skip to today – I have relocated to another country by myself, over 7 months pregnant and alone. But with a clear head, I woke up this morning and began to conquer my daily practice again. It’s not that easy to get into once you have fallen out, but I know that the only way out is through and with 7 weeks left to get to know this lovely little spirit, I’m looking forward to getting back on that horse. Here’s some tips on how to develop or get back into a daily worship of yoga.
Step one: Take It Easy
If you have never had a daily routine, not even with exercise, then don’t try to start with an hour “yoga class” a day + meditation, sorry to say, but you’ll just fail and end up with nothing. My suggestion is to make a list of what you like or are willing to try and then make a commitment to 10-15 minutes a day of any of the above. I started off today with my mala, chanting to Ganesha to remove the obstacle of my fear, I prayed to god and then I sat for 10 minutes in silent meditation, trying to calm a monkey mind. On my list of daily practices that I am interested in are: Mala, Meditation (i’d like to work back to a 30 minute daily sit, but I am not focused on any goal right now), pre-natal yoga classes, and any type of exercise I can muster (right now it looks like lots of walking and some gentle asana). If 10-15 minute is too much, start with five, even if that means you do a few sun salutations at the gym before your workout. Just start.
Step two: Don’t Overthink It Bro
There is no right or wrong way to pray. You don’t have to have a certain type of god or feeling or outcome. Today, I prayed to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. I have just arrived in Mexico and most of my things are in boxes, I have a mala and a picture of Ganesha I have travelled with since 2010. It’s not my full alter, no candles, incense etc and I didn’t even do a sun salutation first. As if Ganesha cares. Tomorrow I might forget or not have time in the morning, so I might try something else – like a gratitude list of 10 things I am thankful for before bed and a guided meditation for sleep – I learned that from a 12 Step program, but for me god is god, the more I create a relationship with the divine, the better, god does not care what kind of schedule I keep or how I communicate, just that I’m doing it. You can turn anything into worship – ex: worship of your body – if you’re running, focus on your breath, if you’re in a steam room, take a moment for some space. Don’t get too caught up in the how or how much, just stay focused on the doing.
Step three: Commit to 30 Days
Make an “anything goes” commitment for 30 days and then reassess. After that much time, you’ll know what you like, and you’ll be able to create something more regular and even regimented. Again, I cannot stress enough not to overthink it at this stage either. It took me years to get a daily practice going, and frankly, if you’re just starting than it means you’ve had a lifetime of NOT doing one, so you can’t expect to fall into a daily habit in a month. Keep at it, even if you stop for a couple days or a week. It’s about coming back, not staying the course in yoga.