Some days it seems as though you have an endless list of reasons to not practice yoga. You’re too tired, you have too much to do, you can practice later/tomorrow, you just don’t feel like it, etc., etc. Your mind will come up with an impressive and convincing range of legitimate reasons to stay home. Don’t fall for it. There are always good reasons to practice yoga. Keep these 5 on hand for those moments when you feel yourself succumb to the gravitational pull of your couch.
Once you begin, the rest is easy. The hardest part of practice is showing up. Although most of your attention is focused on the difficulty of the practice, getting to the mat is actually your biggest obstacle. So instead of worrying about the practice itself, concentrate all your effort into simply showing up—as if the only requirement is that. Once you show up, simply surrender to the practice, and it will take on a life of its own.
Your mind will be clear and your body will feel better. The yoga postures (asana) and breathing (pranayama) are designed to bring comfort to the body and mind. The specific movements, attention to the breath, and concentration required to maintain steadiness and ease throughout practice all help to bring about clear a state of mind and healthy condition of the body. You will feel these effects, especially with a regular yoga practice.
You will feel calm and relaxed afterward. At the end of practice in Savasana, you will completely surrender to stillness. The mind moves even more to an inward focus. The movements of the body still. In these few moments, you completely surrender to the natural rhythm of your breath, allowing the benefits of the practice to fully integrate within you. Once you arise from Savasana, you will find a sense of calm and relaxation that complements the activity of the asana practice. The good news is that you get to take this calm and relaxation with you off the mat.
You will have more energy. Although you expend a lot of energy in your yoga practice, you will also be helping to optimize the flow of energy (prana, or life force) within you. This is one of the reasons why you feel good after a yoga practice. Being calm and relaxed, yet alert and with energy reserves, is the unexpected after-effect of the practice. Yoga works not only on the physical layer, but also on an energetic layer (pranamaya kosha).
You will be one practice closer to knowing yourself. All the work we do on our mats does help us to feel better, physically. But on a deeper level, once we begin to notice that our practice on the mat is a perfect reflection of our life off the mat, our awareness sharpens. We become more attuned to our emotions, our thoughts, and our patterns. We begin to see ourselves—and those around us—more clearly. We understand others because we see ourselves in them. We begin to view the connections between ourselves and others as less separate. This helps us to better know ourselves.
There are hundreds, likely thousands, of reasons to get on your yoga mat. Perhaps you have some reasons not listed here. Find the reasons that are meaningful to you, and use them to help you get to the mat on a regular basis.