Happy New Year! Where’s Your Mat?

Welcome to 2021! Whether it’s with a deep exhale, a sigh, or a groan (too much champagne last night, eh?), it’s time to welcome the opportunity of a brand-new year. And if you seek to deepen or rekindle your yoga practice, there is no better time than right now to develop and claim that intention for the year ahead.

This is one of my intentions as well. In 2020, I pulled away from my mat too much—perhaps due to a confluence of factors like COVID, the corporate job, and launching a studio, all while attempting to prioritize my family. In any case, I feel the gap everywhere from my hamstrings to my hippocampus, and it’s time to get back in the groove. My intention for 2021 is to return to as much of a daily practice as possible (and no, teaching time doesn’t count). Care to join me?

If so, let’s get cooking. Grab your mat from wherever it resides, whether that’s the place you left it after yesterday’s session or in a forgotten corner where it’s hosted the cat’s afternoon nap for the last several months. Then, map out your path. Setting a SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based) goal is important, as this will provide a clear game plan with no grey area or guesswork. So clarify the following questions for yourself:

1. Will you practice at home, or in a studio?

2. If you choose a studio, where can you go that is as safe as possible from a COVID-19 perspective, convenient to you and a fit for your yoga practice and personal culture?

3. If at home, will your sessions be self-guided, or will you utilize livestream or recorded instruction?

4. If you do choose virtual yoga, which studio or service will you use?

5. What is your financial budget?

Next, give it time. A 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology indicated that it takes an average of 66 days for an activity to become a positive habit. The actual range in the study went as high as 254 days. So, the take-away here is to be patient and stick with it until those neural pathways start cooking on their own.

Finally, be gentle with yourself. If you don’t meet your goal on a given day or week, re-commit to doing so the next time. If you need rest, rest. Perhaps your practice on a given day simply involves several minutes of quiet, deep breathing. That, my friends, is yoga too. Being kind to yourself in all ways deepens your practice and meets a need that we all, universally, share in common. So listen to you, and abide in your guidance.

See you on the mat. Namaste.

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