Overcoming Barriers To Daily Yoga Practice
Practicing Yoga everyday may seem like an extreme commitment, but with some creative time management, it can be done. I am proof of that! I have been practicing Yoga daily for 20 months consistently and have only missed a few days here and there for flights and illness. You may be wondering how I have been able to do this, so let me explain.
Trying to Stay Awake During Savasana
One major barrier to daily Yoga practice is exhaustion. I have had some nights where I was completely exhausted, but I dragged myself onto my mat and was thankful for it by the end of the practice. The solution to this barrier is simply the Nike slogan: Just Do It! Just get on your mat, and as you practice, you will start to feel more awake and alive. By the end you will either be completely exhausted and ready for bed or have some energy to complete a few tasks before finally passing out.
Another major barrier to daily Yoga Practice is muscle or joint pain and fatigue. My solution to this barrier is to either spend some time engaged in some gentle stretching before your practice, or to take easier variations to some of the poses that target your sore or fatigued areas. For example, if your arms are sore, drop to your knees in plank pose, or lower to your belly instead of practicing Chaturunga. You can also drop to your elbow in a side plank. If your legs are fatigued, practice low lunges when possible, where you drop your back knee to the mat, or straighten the leg for a second or two in your warrior one or two.
Examples of Wrist Stretches
Another very common area for soreness and fatigue is the wrists. Every single Yogi has experienced wrist pain in their Yoga journey. The best way to deal with wrist soreness is to simply stretch them out before practice. You can stretch your arms out in front of you and point your fingers down. Then take the fingers up. Then when you put your fingers down again, help the stretch with the other hand by taking the thumb to the wrist crease and pushing down on the top knuckles with your fingers. Then when the fingers go up again, help the stretch with the other hand by pulling back on the fingers with the other hand. Do this for each wrist. Then do some wrist circles. You can also practice some wrist stretches using your body weight while in table-top position, such as Lion's Pose.
Most Fatigued Body Part - Arms
Personally, my biggest area of soreness and fatigue is my arms. My biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles are all incredibly sore, regularly. I am finding that my right forearm is extremely tight due to holding my phone in that arm. I often have to stretch out my right arm in particular just to relieve some muscle tension. My arms in general are almost always sore because I practice Yoga flows that are heavy in Plank and Chaturunga. I will sometimes take an easier variation, but I mostly just push through the soreness and take the time to work through some extra stretches for my arms. I recommend you doing what works best for you and your body.
Yoga in Two of My Bedrooms
Another barrier to daily Yoga practice is having space to do so. When I started my yoga practice, I was living in a two-bedroom apartment and my roommate was okay with me practicing in the living room because she was often in her room. After that I lived with my then-boyfriend, and I practiced in his living room which had JUST enough room for my mat and some space around the edges. I had to make it work though, so I would move around my mat, turn to the side, etc. to be able practice fully. After that relationship ended I stayed with my mother for a few months in a tiny home. This was the most difficult space for me to practice in, as I had to move a lot of furniture to have the space, and my mother wasn't as supportive as one would hope. But I made it work, even if it meant going down the road to my grandma's house to practice. I then rented a room in a smaller house, but my room was large enough to practice in. Even though I had to move my coffee table and chair out of the way each time, I did it in order to maintain my daily practice. I now live in a large home and have a large space in the basement for my practice, but I still choose to do my practice in my room at times, which is very small. So I adjust. I move around my mat to make my practice work for me in whatever space I am in. ANYONE can do this and practice their yoga ANYWHERE!
Out of all the barriers to daily practice, the biggest one faced by so many are the scheduling restraints. I used to work 12 hour shifts and then come home and do my yoga late at night. Sometimes I even did my yoga at work, as I worked in settings where I often had down time during the day. The latest hour I practiced yoga was 2am one night because I was volunteering on a movie set and didn't get home until 1am. I was exhausted and ready to sleep, but I still did my Yoga anyway. I was so thankful I did! Basically, no matter what your schedule looks like, you can always find time to fit your Yoga practice in. Whether you work 12 hour shifts or even have multiple jobs! I was working 12 hour shifts, running my own Yoga business, and in rehearsal 6 hours per week for a musical before this pandemic hit, and I still found time for my Yoga practice. It is possible - you just have to be creative and committed.
No matter what the barriers are to your personal Yoga practice, you just have to push through and make it happen. Be open to changes and be creative in where and when you make it happen. But take it from me, it is worth it! You also will feel more accomplished afterward: plus it is a great way to build resilience to change! Change is good, make it work for you!