Overcoming Obstacles to Practice: Personal Practice & Study

What is the way to improvement and “breakthroughs” both personally and professionally?

  • Practice.

What are some common reasons for a home practice to fail?

  • Not prioritizing practice.
  • Assuming practice must be a specific length or type.
  • Not creating a practice that is satisfying.

What can overcome these obstacles?

  • Develop the emotional stamina to practice no matter if your mood shifts or you’re having a bad day.
  • Expand your definition of practice.
  • Continuously adapt practice to meet your needs.

Practicing Our Way to Breakthroughs

We’ve seduced ourselves into believing that… breakthroughs spring forth fully formed, as Athena did from Zeus’ head. Alas, that’s a myth. What always happens (as you can discover by looking at the early work of anyone you admire), is that she practiced her way into it. – Seth Godin

What Causes Home Practice to Fail?

Students and teachers normally fall off the home practice wagon when they can’t create the time for the practice and when the practice isn’t satisfying… You may not have two hours to practice and that is just fine. It does not make you less of a yogi!! Throw out the illusion that practices need to be at least 75 or 90 minutes long. You know your schedule best. Each day has a different practice length with a modified sequence according to the time you have scheduled. Schedule your practice and yes, set your alarm. – Allison Schleck

When You’re Having a Rough Day

What do you do when you’re having a rough day? Maybe it starts the moment you wake up and you just don’t feel like doing your normal things? Or maybe it kicks in a little later in the day after a disappointment. Things aren’t going your way. What do you do? Well, here’s a key lesson: We’ve gotta develop our emotional stamina—on those days when we feel the WORST, we need to be the MOST committed to rockin’ our fundamentals… Imagine that you are MOST committed to doing the little things you *know* keep you plugged in when you LEAST feel like it. – Brian Johnson

Planning for What You’ll Need

I like to think about when I’ll have time to practice, but over the years, I’ve found that tuning into the kind of support I’ll need is even more important. For example, if it’s a packed week, I know I need to make extra sure I practice so that I can stay grounded. But I also know I’ll have less time. So I might consider how I can fit in a few minutes in the morning or before bed. There are all kinds of amalgamations of that, but I think it’s something that can be really helpful — not just how much you can do, but what you actually need. – Anna Guest-Jelly

Expanding the Definition & Shape of Practice

Nowhere in the yoga texts does it say we need to do any of that within the parameters of a 24” X 68” rectangle. Despite that, yoga lovers are extremely committed to that rectangle. We pamper our mats, buy them fancy bags and carry them around with us, and we feel most alive when we’re on them. This devotion to our practice on a rigid shape, leads us to orient all our movement on our frontal plane. We sometimes move our arms around a bit, but we largely confine ourselves to moving forward and backwards only. What if yoga didn’t have to be that way? What if we challenged ourselves to create embodied movement in every orientation? Breaking out of this rectangle is one of the reasons that I’m such a huge fan of aqua yoga. – Christa Fairbrother

See also Feeding Your Passion & Inspiration to Teach