Conquering the sometimes-challenging art of maintaining a regular practice

Life’s natural cadence can often make it difficult to cultivate and maintain a regular yoga practice.

An unexpected work meeting arises, and you realize Monday night’s 5:30 class with Kelly O’Connell at Better Buzz Yoga is looking more like a distant dream than a reality. Or, you’re like me and are constantly underestimating Denver traffic and the ensuing time it will take you to get to the studio from work, watching class start time come and go while you sit in a sea of red lights.

Plans with friends or family arise on the weekend, and suddenly your usual 9:00 AM power Vinyasa class with Taylor Rose Worden at BBY slips off the calendar and into missed-class oblivion.

It happens to even the most seasoned and dedicated practitioner, and perhaps no time of year is more challenging to maintain a consistent practice than the holiday season. What are usually free evenings become holiday-party hopping; what are usually free days become shopping or New Year’s Eve festivity planning. And, amidst it all, there’s often one question ringing loud and clear: when am I going to make time to practice yoga?

There’s a certain special irony in this time of year challenging our commitment to our yoga practice. One report, cited by the American Psychological Association, reveals that people in the United States are more likely to see an increase than a decrease in stress levels during the holiday season. The same report highlights that people are much more likely to behave in sedentary ways during the holidays, opting for staying inside and watching TV, and eating and drinking to help manage stress.

Now, don’t get us wrong; we love watching holiday flicks and indulging in seasonal treats as much as anyone. But, we also know that yoga unequivocally helps us maintain a healthy body and healthy mental equilibrium; just ask the folks over at Harvard University and Science Daily.

Given the facts on holidays stress, coupled with the benefits of yoga, we got to thinking about just how much good it can do a body, and a brain, to maintain a consistent practice heading into the New Year, crazy calendars and all.

Set aside the time, no matter what

Take a moment to visualize all the “things” we make time to do, and even ritualize, each day. Whether it’s fixing our morning cup of coffee or tea, jamming out to our favorite tunes as we get ready for the day, or meal prepping for the evening or the week, we all have idiosyncrasies that comprise our daily routine. Shouldn’t self-care through daily yoga practice be one of them?

While the numbers vary slightly, it’s generally said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Why not get a leg up on your impending New Year’s resolutions and start now? Set aside one hour every day to get your asana to the studio, even when your energy may be running low; even when your work or school schedule isn’t fluid; even when you feel like you just can’t rally. Because, really . . . who has ever regretted going to a yoga class?

Did you know you can sign-up for Better Buzz Yoga classes online via MindBody days, even weeks in advance? And, we encourage it this time of year as classes tend to fill up!

Can’t make it to the studio in time for class? Home practice.

Okay. You’ve looked at your work or school schedule, and set a practice schedule for the week. You’ve hopped online and signed up for the week’s classes at Better Buzz Yoga. You are ready to slay.

Only to find you wake up to a flat car tire. Or a flat bike tire. Or a home malfunction. Or any of the nearly infinite inconveniences that can grace us with their presence at any time. And leaving the house to head to the studio is not looking promising.

Enter home practice. While establishing a regular, or even sporadic, home practice comes with its own set of challenges, it offers the freedom of practicing on your own time, in your own space, on your own terms.

Here are a few tricks that this yogini has found helpful to maintaining a regular, fulfilling home practice:

  • Set a sacred space. Find a space in your home that’s free of distractions and allows for privacy, where you can build some heat, and turn up the beats. No hardwood or tile floor to practice on? No worries! While rolling out your mat on carpet may not seem ideal, it presents a great way to dig deep and challenge the balance.

  • Find a scent to fill the air. Be it Nag Champa incense, sandalwood, or sage, find a smell that soothes and allow it to infiltrate the room.

  • Read up. There is a nearly infinite number of YouTube channels, social media accounts, and On Demand videos to follow along with while practicing at home. And while there is no doubt some good stuff out there, this yogini is a firm fanatic in building up a good ol’ fashioned library of wisdom to flip through on the mat. B.K.S Iyengar’s Light on Yoga is a staple in yogic text. Science of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka delves deep into cultivating a yogic breath. William Hart’s Vipassana Meditation as Taught by S.N. Goenka explores not only meditation benefits and practices, but challenges readers’ spiritual and mental resolve. Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison offers a Dharma Bomb for each day, relating to mind, body, and spirit.

  • Pump. Up. The. Jams! Did you know that Better Buzz Yoga is on Spotify? Check out our Spotify for playlists, songs, and artists we love to listen to, on and off the mat.

Studio schedule just not conducive to your calendar? Better Buzz Yoga has your back with private lessons!

At Better Buzz Yoga, we have made it our mission to craft a class schedule that offers a little something for everyone: the earlier riser, the lunch breaker, the post work practitioner. That being said, we all have those weeks where a class schedule just doesn’t jive, and sometimes a home practice just won’t cut it.

Don’t let the fluke weeks derail you from maintaining your practice. Did you know that the crew of badass teachers at Better Buzz Yoga offers private lessons? Whether to work around the current class schedule or to deepen your practice, simply inquire with one of your teachers next time you’re in the studio to set up a date and time that work for you!

And, don’t forget, we love feedback. Not seeing a class level or time that works well for you? Tell us what does work for you and if we can make it happen, we will!

Get inspired by shaking up your yoga routine

Okay. You have officially done it. You’ve created a steady schedule of classes that work for you. You’ve set aside a sacred space for your home practice. You’ve taken a private lesson or two at Better Buzz Yoga. You are kicking ass and committed to your practice. Now what?

Stay the course, and when in doubt: shake it up. Get out of your comfort zone and try on something new. Whether that means opting to slow down for an hour and add a Buzz Yin class to your schedule, or pushing yourself to try on a level Buzz Flow 1-2 class instead of your usual Morning Buzz, do what you can to add some variety to your regimen as your schedule allows.

Did you know that Better Buzz Yoga has three workshops scheduled going into the New Year? From a Winter Solstice class celebrating the new season with 108 devotional Sun Salutations, to a Make Your Own Mala workshop, to a challenging and asana-kicking Core Flow class, we’ve got a little something for every yogi and yogini. Make sure to connect with us on Instagram and check out the events section of our website to stay up-to-date on upcoming workshops!

Maintaining a regular practice, especially through the busy holiday season, does not come without challenge. Dedicate time to self-care by swapping complacency for commitment, and allow yourself to flow through the holidays and into the New Year fluidly, freely, ready to embrace and work through whatever 2018 throws your way. Namaslay!

Jamie MagyarComment