What does a daily practice mean to you, what do you think it would involve?
The creator of #YogaEveryDamnDay, is yoga teacher Rachel Brathen or ‘Yoga Girl’ and her intention behind the hashtag, and the challenge that goes along with it, is to remind practitioners that "yoga" means so much more than advanced or intense asana. The hashtag currently has over 12 million tags, and there are too few images which portray the variety of what a daily yoga practice can look like.
A daily practice could be a sense of calm and feeling resilient in the face of life's challenges. ‘I just took a few deep breaths and now I don’t feel deeply irritated at the self check out while the person in front of me counts out their change' probably wouldn't make the most interesting social media image, but it does show one of the ways that yoga is applicable to day to day life. I choose simple situations when making points like this; it's a habit I formed during my Buddhist studies, where I was taught to practice with the small stuff, so it's easier to use in a more challenging situation.
If you practice yoga with me, you know I’m a real geek. I’m always reading. If books and journals were food, I’d be seriously overweight! I have a huge stack of books to read by my bed, an e reader and all sorts of journals dotted around the place; dream journal, yoga journal (obviously), travel journal, I’ve even been known to write about my thoughts on books, creating journals on what I’ve read…!
I wasn’t always able to dedicate myself to reading and writing, I didn’t have the time when I had an office job and other responsibilities. I recognise how fortunate I am, in that I can choose to read things which keep reminding me of the benefits of yoga and meditation, and that inspires me to keep going. So I have an insatiable appetite, but I’m not greedy; I share what I consume in weekly classes, on retreats, in these blog posts, I’ve even set up a book group to connect people to share their inspiring reads. You can join the facebook group even if you’re not local, and be part of our online community.
Despite classes, retreats, blogs and groups, there’s still more I want to share! So my latest offering is a free Podcast!
Not everyone has the time or energy to read, I get that. So in my podcasts I share the best bits of what I’ve read and experienced in my own practice.
Knowledge only has value when it’s shared though, so my decades of study is of little help if I don’t talk about it, ask people what they think and have discussions.
It’s taken a long time to feel confident with this, to trust that what I have to share is of value. As Brené Brown says in Daring Greatly:
‘Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.’
So ‘Yoga Every Damn Day’ doesn’t mean a 90 minute dynamic yoga practice every morning. For some people it might, but it’s important to know it doesn’t have to. This is where the Do Your OM Thing Philosophy comes in; 'Doing Your OM Thing' means creating your own version of Asanas, as that there is 'no text book' pose (I’ve done my best to read all the books on yoga, so I speak from a place of knowledge!) we learn to accept shapes look different in every body. And the same goes for meditation, we can't train the body without training the mind. Doing your OM Meditation on a really busy day, might be watching the kettle boil, rather than putting the kettle on, and doing some washing up while the water heats up.
This philosophy increases confidence and brings you back into your body. When you develop agency through breath and movement you'll feel more empowered both on and off the mat!
What I share in podcasts will help you find your very OM daily yoga and meditation practice. You’ll get bi weekly episodes from me; the first episode of the week is 15-20 minutes where we dive into the philosophy, and theory of yoga, with examples from my own life. The second episode is shorter and will be a guided meditation which matches the theme for that week. They’re all free to download from iTunes or wherever you usually listen to podcasts.
I’ll end on a quote;
If we were to rub two pieces of wood together but stop and attend to something else before sparks were produced, we would never obtain fire. In the same way, if we practice sporadically, for example at weekends and during retreats, but neglect our daily practice, we can seldom achieve lasting results. -Traditional Buddhist Teaching.
-Are you ready to do yoga every damn day?