Clearing remaining obstacles and moving forward
Updated: Feb 3
THIS IS PART 5 OF 5 POSTS ABOUT BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE YOGA PRACTICE
Most challenges and workshops about developing yoga practices begin with asking students to rearrange furniture to have a dedicated yoga space or setting up meditation reminders in their phones.
We are doing this last. How could we start with this if we didn’t even know yet what it was that we needed, if we hadn’t played around and made observations about what works and what doesn’t? Our logistical issues likely aren’t entirely clear until we have landed on what and how we want to be practicing. My hope is that you have found a practice that really fits your life, so building a yoga deck or revamping your calendar isn’t necessary, but there may be small things we can do that will concretely improve our experience practicing and make it easier to commit long-term. Let’s see what we need to do to clear any remaining obstacles.
Do you have adequate space? Does this space feel inviting? Is it quiet enough? If not, is there furniture you can move or a corner you can set up with a small altar? Would it help to find a houseplant or small picture to make your space feel welcoming and sacred?
Do you have the props and equipment you need to practice safely and get the full benefits of that practice? For instance, if you have decided that restorative yoga will be a cornerstone of your practice, you will probably want to have at least 1 bolster, 2 blocks, an eye pillow, and a small stack of Mexican blankets. Purchased new, you could easily spend $100 or $200 getting everything that you need, but if you are committed to restorative yoga it will be a worthwhile investment.
Do you need to ask for support from friends or members of your household? If you want to set aside time every morning for practice, but find that your family's needs often interrupt you, can you make requests so that the time you have set aside feels sacred to the entire household?
Does the day get away from you without practicing? Would it help to set reminders up on your phone and put them on repeat?
Are the any other schedule shifts you can make to better accommodate your practice time?
Are you someone who does well with an accountability buddy? Is there anyone you can ask to join you or a more formal on-going group you can join?
Do you find checklists helpful? I have a weekly checklist I use for self-accountability. There are items on there that I easily do the number of times I intend each week, but there's usually a few items on the list which are challenging. The table is infinitely customizable, and mine will change from week to week depending on what I want to focus on. You are welcome to copy and paste to create your own. The shaded days indicate that I don't need to do everything 7 days a week. In fact, meditation is the only thing that I try to do every single day without fail. Some people might enjoy adding the days of the week to the top and pre-planning which days you will do each thing.
If I fill in a week, then I give myself what I call a "zero day." On multi-day backpacking trips, zero days are days when you don't hike at all (zero miles) to give the body a rest. On my zero days, I allow myself to do exactly what I want, whether that's a fun outing or indulging in a day binging a great show on netflix. It's pretty hard for me to fill that chart in, to be honest, but it's enjoyable to me to check things off even if I rarely have a perfect week.
Are there any other obstacles to practice that you’re noticing? What are some strategies to clear these obstacles?
If your brain is still your primary obstacle, return to the blog post from January 4 and see if you can uncover some more truths about what you need from practice. It’s likely that you have equally valid but competing needs that are getting in the way of practice, such as needing to care for your family or needing more rest. In this case, as you do the work again, ask yourself: how can I make these things I’m already doing more sacred? Caring for others and resting are also yoga, so please give yourself lots of credit for what you’re already doing.