Last month I asked my Patrons what their biggest challenges were in their yoga practice. Their answers were universal. Discipline, consistency and motivation. With showing up being the main struggle. I have always considered it the hardest part of practice.
So I brainstormed why these roadblocks might be getting in our way, and how we can remove some of these obstacles (Ganesh willing!) and step onto our mats more.
This list is not exhaustive, but it's a start
Problem #1. You're relying on Motivation alone.
Even the most disciplined practitioners have a teacher. It's important to have a teacher who you're checking in with once in a while. . Especially during a pandemic where we're need more self motivation then ever before to work, homeschool our kids, cooking more meals, washing more dishes and going to work (or not) in uncertain times. Accountability is crucial for a successful practice. Over time, you might be able to get this accountability and motivation from yourself. But if you're finding it hard to get on your mat these days, it might be time to find a teacher !
2. You're going it alone
So you read #1 and you're ready to find a teacher. One of the easiest ways to do that now is to join a zoom class. Yoga is a solitary practice, but we've all experienced the magic of being in a group, expecting yourself to motivate yourself each day is a lot to ask. Having a community to cushion the fall when you stumble is invaluable. So pick a teacher you like, and start attending one of their zoom classes..
that brings me to #3 You're not attending live classes
I used to work at a gym, signing people up for memberships. When the time came to look at the monthly cost, many would say, "well, I can just work out with YouTube at home" And they were all right, you absolutely can! But more often then not, we don't. and why the hell not? (see #1 and #2)
There's so many beautiful yoga platforms and videos out there it might be hard to know where to start. and having the option to pause the video whenever you want, might be getting in the way of the discomfort you need to cross in order to develop a practice that is meaningful. Joining a program or having a teacher is built in guidance and accountability that is so valuable right now.
4. You expect too much of yourself
Start where you are.
Lowering the bar in terms of your expectation for your practice might be the single easiest way to get yourself onto your mat. If you expect yourself to do a 1-2 hour practice 6 days a week with advanced poses it might be easier to put off then if you make the goal to just step on your mat and do one sun salutation (very achievable) What's better? Avoiding a very impressive practice all week or actually showing up to the reality of your practice more often, which could very well be one sun salutation.
Expecting too much is one of the biggest roadblocks I see among students and will often stop them from progressing or sometimes even trying.
5. You don't have a plan
why do you want to practice? to relax? gain strength? become more flexible? How often do you need to practice to achieve this? (daily, weekly, monthly?)
Write down what you want to achieve from your practice (peace of mind, stronger core, better connection to yourself) and then be realistic about what you'll need to get there (a weekly class, a daily program, a monthly private ?)
Remember to start where you are. For example, If you're not practicing at all right now, once a week is a good place to start!
Remember that you're human, and it's okay to adapt as you go along, this means your yoga practice as well :)
My mission has always been to get you (and me) onto our mats. That's where the magic happens. During the pandemic and just in time for our second lockdown here in Montreal, I created At Home Practice packs to help you inspire and ritualize your practice, click here to see what's inside! (they ship out every Friday)