Sustaining a lifelong committed practice is a tremendous feat.
The four R’s are strategies to help you succeed.
Realize that all of life is rhythm. Breath has rhythm. Sleep has rhythm. Eating. Working. Each of the essential activities that sustain us has its own unique and unreplaceable rhythm.
Your yoga practice craves rhythm that is smooth, even and sustained. Over the course of weeks, months, years and decades. So find your particular pulse and HOLD IT DOWN.
Ideally, in a traditional practice, this means SIX DAYS A WEEK. First thing in the MORNING. (BYCF will be adding more morning classes this fall to help you honor this tradition, if you choose.)
Maybe, in your particular circumstances, at this specific time in your life, a different rhythm would be more comfortable. Many BYCF students are middle-aged, with children, careers, aging parents and many other worthy commitments.
That is ok; that is great! Committing to a rhythm is much more important than the specific rhythm itself.
But here’s the thing. A rhythm is more than a series of random, unpredictable and non-repeating notes.
So DECIDE. Then DO.
Once you’ve established a macro rhythm–a regular frequency of practice–then you can pay attention to the quality of each individual note.
Need some inspiration? Watch this video about the Malinke people of west Africa. Their drumming tradition echoes and honors the rhythms of life, much like our yoga.
A ritual is a sequence of decisions, activities, and objects that is repeated over and over again, in a very precise manner, often for the purposes of comfort and relief. A ritual is usually performed in a special, dedicated place.
So wear your favorite outfit, stand in your favorite spot, next to your favorite person at your favorite studio. As often as you can. Use all of the ingenuity you have to create your specific ritual for practice that makes you want to practice.
You can’t outsource your practice. No one else can do it for you.
Reverence is a word that has fallen out of favor. It goes beyond secular workaday ordinary respect. Reverence is a solemn, sacred honoring–a remembering–of something intensely personal.
The practice has the power and the potential to connect each and every one of us to our very deepest and most private beliefs and priorities, whatever they may be, and whoever we may be.
While the practice is a solitary, internal one–all the flashy stuff is just a circus–it’s a practice we move through together, in synchrony, as a community.
What you do at yoga is unusual these days…and very, very special. Remember that. Make room for your yoga. It puts you back in touch with your highest purpose.