As the summer sun wraps up its warmer rays, autumn is preparing to envelop us with its soft light and golden (ok, sometimes grey) hues. This seasonal shift is the ideal opportunity to make use of that back-to-school energy of renewal that grabs hold of us at this time of the year.
With the fall equinox marking the equal length of day and night, it is the perfect pivotal moment to commit to habits that will carry us through the darker months as we settle into a rhythm after the blissful spontaneity of summer.
Yoga provides us with the opportunity to always begin again. No matter what happened yesterday, last week, month, or even years in the past. Many of us know by now how great it can feel when we show up for ourselves on the mat regularly.
Nonetheless, it can sometimes be difficult to commit to our practice, and coming back after a break may feel particularly daunting. However, there are a number of ways in which you can support a regular yoga practice.
Commit to classes
You can make use of exercise habit-forming tools, such as scheduling your yoga classes in your calendar and treating them like the most important meetings of your week. But maybe going from zero to every day is not the most sustainable of propositions. Start with a few days that you can really commit to.
Friendly support and inspiration
Find ways to connect to the community. Make dates with friends, new or old, at the yoga studio. (If someone does not show up, they have to bake brownies for next time.) Our friends or other inspirations of yoga in our lives (social media is a tricky topic, but it can also work to our benefit) can also serve to remind us when we forget just how good yoga can feel.
Get comfortable with moving through resistance
While motivation is wonderful, the truth is that you will not feel 100% motivated all the time. Try to think of your practice as extending beyond the actual class time. This way, we can turn the resistance we sometimes (or often) have to overcome when getting out of bed early in the morning or making our way to the studio after a long day into a discomfort we become, well, comfortable with.
Just as we move through the demand we place on our bodies and minds in yoga poses, meeting it with skillfulness and awareness, we can experience the resistance without letting it derail our plans and commitment. Supported by our brain’s beautiful capability of creating and strengthening neurological connections, it will begin to feel easier in (almost) no time.
In yoga, we practice waking up to this breath, this moment - this now, so that we do not wake up ten or twenty years from now wondering how we got there. You may find that a little bit of discipline and routine can be unexpected sources of freedom and joy. Here’s to beginning again.