Have you ever thought you’re not someone who can practice yoga on your own?
Well so did I. I kept that story going around in my head, remaining stuck in my same negative self-talk and same bad habits, never taking action in the beginning of my day to actually set me up for calm amidst the chaos. Until I shifted my mindset and my morning to prioritize my personal yoga practice and live my life from the inside out. If you’re someone who is constantly running to find the time to make it to your favorite yoga teacher’s class (like I was!) while feeling disappointed because the studio schedules and times just don’t line up with your life, well I promise you – there is another way!
Cultivating a personal yoga practice or sadhana (daily spiritual practice) doesn’t mean you give up on your favorite yoga studio or teacher, in fact, it’s just the opposite. As you begin to lean on your own practice, you don’t need the studio or teacher in the same way. You can flow to and from those favorite classes with a sense of ease and joy because you get what you need from yourself.
Why having a personal yoga practice matters
Building a daily practice that grounds you in the truth of who you are is one of the most precious gifts you can cultivate for yourself. It becomes an integrated spiritual practice, sadhana. I spent 14 years as a lost, addicted & depressed yogi. It wasn’t until I began to put some real TLC into my daily personal yoga practice that I began to unfold that state of bliss which is yoga or YOG.
So how do you get to that place of actually creating the self-practice? I’m here for you my friend because the thing is – whatever you know and understand already is the perfect place to begin. I’m going to lay it out in the exact way I do it after 17 years of practice. And you’ll see there’s freedom for you throughout it all.
Start with curiosity & compassion
Ok let’s get clear, it doesn’t matter how you got here. You’re here! This is a practice in the here and now. And you’re ready to start tuning into that inner wisdom you know you’ve got.
Step one is creating the time & space where you are to make your practice work for your life. Remember this isn’t about you running around someone else’s schedule. This is about You and making yourself and this sacred time a priority.
Right, so where are you going to practice? Create an area in your home that is your sadhana space. You want to make it as easy for yourself as possible to wake up and without thinking, know that you’re going right to your yoga spot. I travel and move a lot so I always suss out my spot if I’m in a new space and make sure it’s got enough room for my mat & a cushion.
If you want to add your incense and crystals and a pooja, or altar, and all that jazz – go for it but it’s not essential. It only matters that it’s a space that can reflect the calm, clear energy which you cultivate during your practice. You’ll need your yoga mat, some cushions or blocks, and a chair if you’ve got tight hips (more on that later).
It’s about quality, not quantity
Got your spot? Great. Now what is essential next is to be realistic with your time. If it’s only possible for you to practice for 15 minutes right now, then do that. I personally practice anywhere between 15 minutes to two hours. I remind myself that whatever I land on is perfect because it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Make sure your time has the intention of being uninterrupted & you’ll want to do your practice before your phone, your coffee, or your breakfast. Set that alarm, wake up & roll onto your mat.
Now you’ve landed in your sacred space. You might be a little groggy but guess what, the morning is the perfect time to meditate for a reason. And that reason is that you haven’t come into your waking state of mind just yet.
Sit in a comfortable seat, which means easy in the hips my friend.
If you’ve got open hips that means sitting on a cushion or a block and if you’re tight it means up on a chair.
Practice what you know
Take this beginning time of your practice to watch and listen. Watch how your body and mind are feeling, listen to what the being inside is needing today. From here you can feel into your practice which can look vastly different from day to day. Allow yourself to drop the expectation of what you think a yoga practice should look like and do what feels authentic to you. I’ll give you a pro-tip here 👉 BE OPEN.
These are the pillars I pull from in my daily personal yoga practice:
- Meditation & Contemplation
- Reading & Journaling
- Mantra & Chanting
- Pranayam & Breathwork
- Asana & physical movement
Some mornings you will incorporate all elements, and sometimes you might just practice one or two. The point here is to begin with what you know. If you wait until you’ve mastered all the yogic practices & principles you’ll be long gone! It’s completely silly to expect yourself to be able to sequence out a full 60-minute vinyasa yoga practice like your teachers – that is not what this is about. It’s about YOU – doing YOU. And as you start to explore the spiritual and physical elements, you’ll discover which speak to you. Then you can begin to take autonomy in serving your highest needs by exploring those practices deeper. You can explore these pillars a little more in this 7 day self practice video series I created for free (because I’m so convinced of the power of a personal yoga practice!).
Whatever you know is perfect as long as you keep the resolution to stay in this inward, personal reflective practice for your allotted time. Let yourself be easy in it, as forcing your way into wellness will never last.
Best friends finish thoughtfully
Just as you began in a moment of meditative, contemplative stillness and listening – finish this way as well. Take a pause to acknowledge yourself for showing up. Remember you’re your own best friend in this practice so applaud whatever was achieved and leave the criticism for bad television. Finish with a prayer or gratitude practice or chanting the sacred syllable of OM.
It’s important you signify the end of your practice. This moment of pause allows your nervous system to integrate all the work you’ve done, both subtle and strong. Now you’re ready to carry that intention into your day.
And remember this is a long game
Your daily practice is something that is built over days, months, and years. Just like friendships. So, step into this ancient tradition in the context which fits your life. Just make it an experiment and be open to the subtleties which are profound in the long run. If you’re looking for a quick fix to your inner turmoil or outer health, know that this isn’t it. This is your insurance plan for managing the next 20 or 50 years of life’s ups and downs.
And one last pro-tip 👉 take support from your wellness community. For example, when you go to the yoga classes start to think about elements you love that you can integrate into your own morning routine. Or what about asking your teacher which physical asanas they think are most important for practicing daily. If you don’t have an in-person community or are only used to physical practices, try some YouTube videos on chanting or join a workshop that teaches deeper elements of yoga.
As you can see, I’m obsessed with helping curious yogis develop their personal yoga practice and subsequently begin to transform their life from the inside out. Just as I did. If you’re interested to go deeper with me book a discovery call. Let’s get you into the magical daily delight of sadhana.