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I saw this on a t-shirt this morning while walking through the mall with my daughter and the first thing that I thought of was, “Oh yes! It is!” I consider myself a fairly rational and calm person but lately, I have been struggling with my yoga practice.
It feels like, I always start out so excited to practice and then as soon as I come to my mat, all my brain wants to do is remember stories about the week, think about what is my husband fixing for dinner, or review my to-do list and I start to feel stressed out over a bunch of things that really don’t matter.
I know we’ve ALL been there at some point or another and guess what? It’s OK! This doesn’t make you “bad” at yoga (or even meditation) and it doesn’t mean that you’re just not “the type of person” who can sit still. (I hear people say this a lot).
Acceptance and Redirection
Yoga is a practice, just like anything else. Wherever you put the effort you’ll get a reward. So next time you sit down to do your home practice or meditate and all you can think about is what to make for dinner or how much work you have left to do in the office, accept that.
Don’t try to force those thoughts away, just let them come and then gently redirect. Don’t lose your motivation (as I feel like I sometimes do). Show yourself compassion and understand that everyone can get better with anything with constant practice.
Breathing is also so important. Concentrating on steady, deep breaths not only helps you focus and it also calms both body and mind to create a more stable pose. Sometimes to help, I rest my head on my mat and breathe. Notice the pace, sound, and warmth of your breath. I redirect my thoughts back to the calm and serenity that I want to bring to my practice.
Set an Intention
It can also help to set an intention. Picture in your mind what you want to manifest. When I’m teaching a class, I love to set an intention. I also give reminders during the class that if the students’ minds have wandered from the intention, here are a few spots to bring the intention back. Intentions can be as simple as a single word. I often use, “Love”.
No matter how it goes, the most important thing is to keep working at it. Keep going back to your mat even when you’re discouraged. Keep going back even when you’re stressed. Keep going back even when you feel like you’ve only got 5 minutes to spare.
You’ve got this! Namaste!
Amazon sells one of my favorite eye pillows that I used to help relax at the end of my yoga practice.