Barriers to a Home Practice

Time. Always time.

Space.

Thoughts: Breaking out of the mold of having to practice at a certain time – first thing in the morning, immediately after work, in class, shows that I can free up time in different ways, practice in different places – the park, my empty office, my living room, the hall, a guest room. I struggle with a lunch practice, but it can just mean I practice outside in the park or that I do a silent meditative mantra practice in my office. I can even read and blog about

I’m reading Forty Days of Yoga: Breaking Down the Barrier to a Home Practice, which is not groundbreaking but certainly giving me ideas that challenge my notions of a practice!

For the last few days, days 3 and 4, I have focused on different parts of the practice, including diet, incorporating more Ayurvedic methods into my morning routine, having conversations with my teachers, and teachers I admire, such as the incredible Christina Sell (her book really reformed my body image issues, and researching prep poses for things I am working on, such as bakasana or lotus or Upavishta Konasana. Of course I’m still on my mat, doing strap work and long, long muscle holds to build strength and flexibility.

Interestingly, today I just didn’t feel like Ashtanga, but have had a very deep hip and hamstrings practice, using Christina Sell’s bound half lotus with my stretchy strap.

I think the biggest barrier is mental rigidity. The practice doesn’t always have to look or feel a certain way. And for those of us not blessed with natural flexibility, having the mental flexibility to change the practice to stay on the mat when something doesn’t work.

Chanting, and exploring the history of Hindu deities and lore has provided additional inspiration. This card set with mantras is a great way to get started on a practice on days when I’m not quite sure what my practice looks like (read: non-Ashtanga days). I pulled the card for Hanuman, a personal favorite, whose mantra is as follows:

manojavam maruta-Tulsa-vegam
Jitendriyam buddhimatam varistham
Varatmajam vanara yutha mukhyam
Sri-Rama dutam Sirsasana namami

Which means: I bow down in homage to Hanuman, the general of the army of apes and Sri Rama’s messenger, who travels with the speed of the mind and with the force of the wind, for he is the son of the wind god. He has conquered his senses and is the wisest of the wise.

I say this mantra because I am asking for the ability to increase my attitude of love in performing selfless service. Which some days looks a bit like taking time to practice so I can be kind and practice love towards others.

Blocks for home practice will keep coming. The trick is to move to the side and dodge them rather than try to crush them.

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