We all know that Yoga is good for you but how do we begin to practice daily?.
Every week, more than 30 million people around the globe head for one of the multitude of different Yoga classes that seem to be popping up everywhere. Celebrities unroll their mats next to supermarket cashiers, bank managers beside builders, and everyone bliss’s out to this ancient tradition of movement breathwork and meditation. But did you know that the group Yoga class is really a 20th century invention? Or that the feel-good factor enjoyed by students who go to one or two classes classes are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of Yoga?
Traditionally, Yoga was taught on a one-to-one basis, to better tailor each practice to each individual’s unique needs. Back then, students practiced on a daily basis to reap the full rewards of a sustained regular practice. Many modern Yoga students get a hint of how good it could be to practice every day, but stumble as they try to replicate what they’ve been doing in class. It’s not the actual practices that trouble them, but the sixty or ninety minute duration that requires more spare time (or energy) than most of us have each day. It can also be way too much for our bodies to handle on a daily basis, and our first lesson is that we need to do less, not more.
The best way to start a daily yoga practice is what I call “One Percent Yoga”. Fifteen minutes is just one per cent of a day, and that’s all you really need to start big changes in your life. It may sound like too little, but I guarantee you that done every day over a long period of time it makes a huge difference. Not only that but it is sustainable, whereas few yogis succeed in maintaining ninety-minute practices amongst the demands of this hectic, busy world we live in.
Think of Yoga practice in the same way that you think of dental health. Would your teeth be healthy if you didn’t brush them daily? Or if you brushed them for an hour each time? If you get too intermittent then your teeth rot from all that time in-between brushing. If you brush for too long, your gums will bleed and eventually long-term damage accumulates. Your teeth and gums need a certain balance between too much and too little.
The rest of your body is just the same, and often you won’t see the long-term impact of neglect or overuse until it’s too late. All we need to do is ease up and take a long-term slow-burn approach. Then the physical, energetic and mental-emotional benefits of Yoga practice not only seep into your system but will stay there.
Scott Rennie is a Scottish yoga teacher in the Krishnamacharya tradition, now living in Melbourne, Australia. You can read more about Scott on his website at www.trikayayoga.com, and his book, “One Percent Yoga: How to Practice Yoga Every Day” is available on Amazon, iBooks and other e-book stores.