Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of practicing yoga daily. That's 1825 consecutive days of yoga in the early morning.
I never thought I would be here.
Whilst I had started “doing yoga” when I was pregnant with my daughter 26 years ago, I never practiced it – either off the mat or everyday.
Then came a time in my life where yoga came to me and called me to her arms. It was a low point in my life. My doctor wanted to give me a prescription, my psychiatrist the same. Instead I turned towards a 5000 year old practice that science is only just coming to appreciate.
The daily sadhana journals I kept went something like this……..
Day one – I did it! Then I immediately think so what about tomorrow and can you keep it up?? Not I. But who is that I because as the witness to what you just did, I think yes you can!
Day two – felt depleted and wanted to manage my energy levels. Just got through it.
Day three – I learned a lot. I realised how I let others direct me so easily rather than stand up for myself. That my lack of kindness to myself is a barrier to my growth. I felt joyous in this realisation.
Day four – so powerful I managed to hold the postures for the full 3 mins, even if one was really challenging. I just kept repeating, I can, I can over and over. Til I did it. Then realised I am actually strong, stronger than I thought.
Day five – a panic attack and my legs are weak.
Day six – my love for yoga right now – I can’t get enough.
Day seven – the insight arrives that I have been trying to predict what is next to protect myself. I don’t need to do this any longer, I am safe.
Day 8 – I can look into the darkness if I surround myself with the right supportive people.
Day 9 – I didn’t like any of the postures today or the music. It felt dark. Later in the garden I realised in joy there is a tad of sorrow. In light a seed of darkness. In song there is silence. In coming to terms with parts of us we don’t like, we learn to love ourselves more deeply, and wholly.
Week 5 – I feel more at peace and at the same time more fidgety.
Week 7 – Feeling great in so many ways – less negative, living more in the now, my skins feels amazing, I have more energy.
Year 1 – the year has passed so quickly. I have a sense of achievement I did my daily practice even at times when I didn’t think I could.
The first year turns into 2, into 3 then 4, now 5.
From here I shall stop counting. For there is no question how I start a day, whether at home, at the beach, visiting family or on holidays. It is always the same in devotion to the quiet space within, in reverence to the small voice of my soul that yearns to be heard, as an act of grace, as a pause in my day, as a daily practice that I can not live without.
The benefits are endless. Yes, it has decreased stress, anxiety, fought depression, improved heart health, my quality of life, better sleep, better balance, less migraines, and increased strength (thanks to the froggies). And there are so many more.
There’s no doubt a daily yoga practice seemed daunting at the start. But it can become a habit, one day at a time. Half the battle is to overcome the negative bias and monkey mind that tells us otherwise. The other half is to get up, get on the mat, not think and just do it.
Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.
– Cybele Tomlinson