I trust that this email finds you travelling well in life and in practice wherever you are in the world. I have just returned to beautiful Ontario, Canada, after a wonderful journey from Canberra to Port Douglas – travelling about 3,500km of the Australian coastline. I had a fantastic time sharing Yoga, Thai Yoga Massage, and our first ever Core Yoga Instructor Training program with some great students and teachers – and got a chance to see more of the beautiful “land down under” as well.
People often ask how I keep up a regular practice while I’m on the road so much – and the answer for me is that I make it as easy as possible to practice. I make sure that my mat is accessible (it’s the last thing that goes in the suitcase or the car); my clothes are laid out in the morning so I can easily slip into them, and I make it a rule that I practice first thing when I arrive in a new place. Otherwise, days or sometimes weeks can go by and suddenly I realize that my practice has slipped. For me, Yoga and meditation are the most important things I do every day, so I have made my practice my priority.
This subject came up while I was working with two students recently who shared with me their wisdom on making sure that practice/exercise is a consistent part of everyday life – they shared a technique was so good I just had to pass it on.
For most of us, the hardest part of a class is getting there. Do you ever have the experience where, although you are really looking forward to your evening yoga class (workout, bike ride etc), you spend the day talking yourself in and out of attending? You know you will like it once you get there. You know you will feel amazing after the class. But, somehow, you still spend much of the day negotiating with yourself into and out of attending. Too busy. Going to a movie instead. Should really call my Mom. Gotta do the laundry. What’s that twinge in my knee? I’ll practice at home tomorrow morning instead… And the list goes on…
Well, these two clients shared with me a method to ensure that they don’t talk themselves out of exercise – they make their practice “non-negotiable”. That is, to make your practice/exercise/meditation one place that you don’t negotiate with yourself. You don’t tell yourself that something/someone else is more important. You don’t waste energy avoiding the practices that are key to the health and balance of your body/mind.
One client said that her way of making exercise “non-negotiable” was to put on her exercise clothes in the morning, and not take them off or have a shower until she has done some form of movement. That means if she wants to go to the shops, pick up the kids, get a coffee…she has to exercise first. And she reports that this technique has helped her to be successful in making exercise consistent in her life.
So, with that in mind – I have a few ideas below on ways that you can inspire your practice and your life with online/distance learning. The key to distance learning, of course, is to make sure your study happens regularly. So, if you are studying, practicing, exercising on your own – I encourage you to find a way to make it easy to practice…and to make your practice ‘non-negotiable’.
First published in the Mind Body Messenger newsletter 2010