Consistency is everything. Consistency is key in all aspects of life. Your word, your truth, your art, your yoga practice, your runs (if you’re a runner) or whatever hobby you prefer, your diet, your sleep, and everything that is truly important to you ALL need consistency.
But consistency is hard. Any path to meet a goal (Think: keeping up with a meal plan or fitness schedule) can become tedious, tiresome, or even boring. More than anything, consistency takes discipline, motivation, and maybe even a couple sacrifices. But it also speaks volumes about a person’s character. The person who practices consistently is committed to getting things done, committed to tackling goals, and committed to greatness. This could easily be you.
Every proclivity or interest you have gets better by spending time developing it. There’s no other way around it. If you want to grow your yoga and meditation practice then you must be willing to do the work, put in the hours per week, and adapt.
Consistency will make all the difference in your flexibility, strength, and brainpower. Consistency means saying “I do” again and again. Consistency in your physical practice means you will notice positive, recognizable progress. Incorporating the Sivananda approach means you’ll be healthier, fitter, happier, and hopefully obtain a longer lasting body–well-equipped to achieve all you want to do in this life.
Target Goal: Self-Conquest, Self-Mastery, Self-Discipline
Step one: Define your goals- make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Challenging. Consider the acronym SMAC, a trick I learned during a management training. Whatever goal you are choosing to connect with, choose it because you want it, not because someone else is doing it, it is popular, or you feel pressured.
Because your words have power, share your goals. Write it down, tell your friends, your spouse, a relative, put the goal out into the universe. The manifestation process begins when you start to speak things into existence. Your words create and define your life.
My First Yoga Goal: Become flexible enough (Challenging) to get into hanumanasa split pose (Specific) in three months (Measurable, Attainable).
The goal above is why I began to practice yoga. I had no idea about the benefits of a yoga lifestyle. I didn’t get the mind and spirit connection, definitely didn’t feel the need to include meditation, and had no idea breathing exercises even existed. The reason I began to practice yoga was to achieve this goal and while it might sound a bit shallow to me now, it allowed me to build proper habits and encouraged me to practice consistently; and for that I am thankful. Yoga became a ritual, a part of my everyday life, and that’s how I gained results.
Keep Your Word
Step two: Did you know you can change your lifestyle by changing your speech? As cliche as it sounds, it is important to believe in yourself, and to believe in the process. It is important for you to believe your efforts and dedication will pay off. It is important that you understand that your thoughts begin with a word and you have loads of choices. So, practice positive thinking and use affirmations. Train your mind to think positively; because as you think, you act. Practice non-attachment by avoiding labels, they will hinder your capabilities. And observe your thoughts as much as you can. Consider, what words have you used to describe yourself today? Get rid of the negatives, and work with the positives. Do this consistently.
Personal Example: Anytime I find myself experiencing difficulty with a specific pose in my practice I repeat this mantra, “God is within me, therefore I can do all things. God is within me, therefore I can do all things.”
Practice Positive Thinking
Step three: Do the work. Keep your word. Practice. Train yourself. Stick to it. Yes, these are all simple words that take a lot of action.
But, you want the results? Just do it, and do it consistently.
- Begin and end your practice with savasana (proper relaxation pose) to systematically get your body and mind into the practice.
- Practice holding these poses for 10-20 breaths. (In other terms, 30-60 seconds.)
- Figure out how many days per week you can realistically fit yoga into your schedule. I would aim for a minimum of two/three days a week if you want to see recognizable progress. For quicker results, find more time. As yoga becomes more of a ritual than a routine, challenge yourself to practice four/five days out of the week.
- Use these basic, foundational poses to build physical, mental, and spiritual strength until you feel steady and comfortable. Then move on to try other variations.