Honestly, you don’t need much to build a yoga practice. A small space, a willing body, and a touch of mindfulness are all that is required. You may add a mat and props eventually, but lack of these items will not hamper your initial practice.
All gardens begin with a suitable space. Good nutrient-rich soil, sunlight is a must for a garden to thrive. The same is true for your yoga garden. Dedicate a space for your practice. It doesn’t have to be large. At a minimum, it should be clean and free of clutter. You may find it difficult to center yourself if a pile of dirty skivvies is staring you down. Over time you may decide to add other thoughtful touches to the area which make it feel more inviting. Perhaps an essential oil diffuser or cozy meditation cushions?
Initially, my dedicated space was in our living room. When our kids were busy playing in other areas or outside, I would roll my mat out. It was perfect for the short sessions of my early practice. As the length of my sessions increased so did the distractions. Also it probably absolutely shredded my husband’s nerves to watch me kick up onto the living room wall. Eventually, we sectioned off a corner in our basement to use as a practice space. I realized that I rushed and never fully relaxed in the living room because I didn’t want to monopolize the common area. Shifting to the simple space away from distractions has allowed my practice to flourish.
Several years ago, Allison, a family friend, gifted us a small potted Mophead Hydrangea. We had moved into a lovely new home, but our yard looked like the Munster family tended it! Allison adored gardening and apparently had a heart for our neighbors. She selected a spot in our yard where the plant would have the best chance of surviving its owners. We also popped a few Asiatic Lily bulbs in the ground to add additional color to the yard. She left me with simple care instructions. All they needed was sunlight, water, time and patience.
Little TIME passed before the hydrangea to take a turn for the worst. Within a couple of days, it looked wilted and frail. Being not long on patience, I rang Allison who assured me this was normal. The plant was getting used to its new residence. She was right, of course. Soon it returned to its original vibrant green and perked up significantly. Throughout the spring and early summer, it continued to grow more hearty. By the end of summer, it bloomed a single bunch of lavender colored petals!
The following spring the Lilies made their appearance. I initially mistook them for weeds, mainly because I’d forgotten about planting them. They certainly didn’t look anything like the picture on the bulb package. However, once I figured it out, checking on them each day became my habit. I was fascinated with watching their transformation. Each phase of the blooming process brought more excitement and joy. Not only was I bearing witness of Creation; I was bearing witness to the value of time and patience. The flower bed soon teamed with bold yellow and red flowers.
The small potted plant has become a hearty bush that displays magnificent purple blooms annually. The lilies grow taller and multiply with each passing year. While I enjoy the full bloom of the flowers, it is the process that excites me most. The dry branches of the hydrangea spring to life season after season, growing stronger and more stable over time.
What does this have to do with yoga? Set yourself up for success by starting small. Consider committing 5 - 20 minutes to your mat a few days a week. Dedicate a portion of this time for introspection. Maybe you sit quietly, listen to a guided meditation or pray. Perhaps you pick up a mindful activity. Coloring, knitting, and journaling are my go-to activities. Anything that calms your mind will do.
Early on, your body might feel a bit wilted and frail, which is normal. It’s moving in new ways and needs to get used to a more mindful residence. Move slowly and gently turning your full attention to the sensations you are experiencing. Avoid forcing the body into poses it is not ready to explore as this can result in injury. There is no need to chase poses or to “look right.” Simply maintain awareness of your body, move in a nourishing way, and give you practice TIME to bloom.
Prayers, Love and Warm Vibes,
P.S. Looking for a 2-10 minute flow? Check out my Simple Sessions.