When people ask me how often they should practice yoga, I usually give them the same answer. Only practice it on days that you want to feel good.
I’m not trying to be funny. I’m not trying to be irritating. It’s what I feel and believe.
What I don’t say…
I don’t tell them that they need to practice a certain amount of time every day.
I don’t tell them that they have to do a certain number or poses or even which poses that they will need to include to feel good.
I also don’t tell that when or how to practice.
I don’t give a more specific answer because you are all unique. You each have different abilities, needs and skills. You all also have different amounts of time to devote to your yoga practice.
With all of that in mind, ideally you will all have unique yoga practices.
So why practice daily?
I encourage you to have some sort of daily yoga practice because your body and mind need the daily exposure in order to build your ‘yoga muscles’. Each practice that you complete builds on all of the previous practices that you have done. You’re creating memories in your body that will help you later on in your life. As your practices build on previous one, those memories get stored more deeply in your tissues.
So, what are yoga muscles?
Well, there’s the obvious ones.
The muscles in your body that you use every day simply by living your life. These muscles get to stretch, strengthen and tone with each yoga pose that you do. That helps to keep your physical body healthy.
I’ll also put your lungs in this category. All of the deep breathing that we practice in yoga can help your lungs to be stronger than ever. This means that with each breath that you take, you can bring in more air to nourish your body.
If you have asthma, like I do, that is a huge benefit that I have enjoyed for many years. My daily yoga practice means that I can breathe better even when my asthma is acting up simply because my lungs are stronger and I can still get the much needed oxygen into my body.
There’s also the not so obvious ones.
These would include your mind and your spirit.
Practicing yoga helps you to develop resilience. When you’re holding a pose that you really don’t enjoy or like. You will learn to handle difficulty in a new way when you do this. By taking some deep breaths into the poses that you don’t like, you learn that you can stay there longer than you thought.
This learned behavior is so helpful when you take this practice off of your mat. This yoga muscle can help you get through a traffic jam or through that business or family event that you don’t really want to attend. Breathing through whatever is happening in your difficult moment will help you to get through it with more ease.
Then there is the yoga muscle of living in the present moment. When you are practicing yoga, your attention is brought back to what you are doing right now. What happened in the past or what will happen in the future isn’t as important as what is happening right now.
Again, you can take this skill off of your mat. You are learning to live in the present moment in the rest of your life as well. Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, you are living your current life on not worrying about a future that isn’t even here yet..
It takes practice.
Whether you are working the obvious or the not so obvious yoga muscles, it takes practice.
A daily yoga practice helps you to build those muscles so that you can take the lessons that you learn on your mat & use them to make your life off of your mat even better. But, it won’t happen with a practice one day & another weeks later. If you want to develop these skills and habit, then you’ll need to practice more frequently.
Eventually with a frequent practice (daily is awesome), you’ll find that you feel better on the days that you practice yoga. This is why I say you only need to practice on the days that you want to feel good.
Once you notice how much better that you feel with your frequent practice, you won’t want to skip it. You won’t want to have those days where you don’t feel as good.
It’s not about the length of time, it’s the consistency that helps.
Remember, you can reap the benefits of a frequent yoga practice even with just 10 or 15 minutes a day. It’s that consistency that helps you to really build those yoga muscles.
You can do it. Start easy with a short meditation or a couple of yoga poses that are easy to do. Let that easy practice lead you to a consistent practice. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to branch out to different poses.
I’m here to help you set up a consistent practice!
I’ve been helping lots of clients lately set up a more consistent yoga practice. It can be customized to your own abilities. Reach out to me if you’d like some help setting up your own consistent yoga practice. You can email me at email@example.com or schedule a 15 minute call to discuss your goals.