Just as we need on a daily basis to feed our body, keep it clean, wrap it up when cold etc, so do we have to exercise it. Similarly, to keep our sanity we like to enrich and nurture our spirit and soul regularly. This suggests that for this purpose we adopt practices that are sustainable and long-lasting i.e. for the rest of our lives.

Yoga fulfills all of these criteria. It involves the practice of beautiful physical postures, breathing to cleanse, strengthen and beautify our energy field, and meditation to explore the deeper meaning and purpose of life.

One could easily get the impression that taking care of ourselves on all these different levels is ‘heavy going’– but it doesn’t have to be this way, because with Yoga it is so much fun! This doesn’t only apply to when you are new to this beautiful discipline. Yoga shall stay exciting and something you look forward to doing daily, for many years to come.

The secret to staying enthusiastic about the practice is to approach it cleverly and wisely. No doubt there will be days where the practice is much more challenging than on others, but also days when everything flows smoothly and you can’t possibly imagine why you would have found it hard to begin with or that it could possibly become difficult ever again.

The key to a sustainable, fun practice, lies in the involvement of our minds. There is a good reason for the practice teaching us to stay in the present moment. It is only if we are able to detach ourselves from any expectations we have of our practice, that we can come closer to accepting our present state on all levels, physically and mentally. With the help of the breath we can be present every single moment, and acutely aware of our bodies’ needs. This will allow us to adapt to our ever-varying energy levels, motivation and physical capability etc.

In nearly all areas of our lives we are pushed to our limits, getting things done super-quick and propelling ourselves on all levels at an unnatural pace.

Yoga gives us the space to ‘just be’, to take our time to ‘indulge’ in our breath, and to get to know ourselves on a deeper level, very thoroughly. It can be very refreshing to know that as long as we do the best we can on any given day, it is good enough. It is the exact opposite to the oft-found busyness that dominates the rest of our lives; here we are encouraged to take our time, to slowly and steadily explore first our body, then our breath and mind.

Particularly when practicing asanas – postures – our minds often long for more intensity, a quick mastering of more challenging postures, and then for more advanced postures. In Yoga we need to take one step at a time. Becoming grounded and confident in one part of the practice first, we stay with it for some time until fully consolidated, before we move to the next challenge. This is why it is crucial to get a teacher’s guidance on the journey, and take their advice. Remember that they have walked the path before you, experienced the same restlessness, impatience, and longing for more, just as you sometimes do. They have a more objective insight into your practice, with your wellbeing at heart.

Yoga Sutra I.7: pratyaksha anumana agamah pramanani
Correct knowledge is the fruit of directly perceived experience, inference, or reliable testimony – relating to the latter it concerns the testimony of someone who is an authority in the matter, be that teaching Yoga or any other discipline.

Whenever you feel a sense of dissatisfaction creeping up, recall a moment of ‘happy yoga’, when you felt truly at ease and peaceful. It would have been a moment of not drawing on your past, nor worrying about the future, but being in the present moment.

Connect with your innermost divine spark, where the truth lies, and the understanding of what is right for you at this particular moment. During this feeling of being at ease and contented, practicing an additional posture has no relevance, as an inner joy is arising with the understanding that ‘everything is good as it is’. This newly found spaciousness allows for acceptance, and a joy of practicing what is sensible and comfortable at the time.

With the intention of a practice that carries you well in to your later years, taking one step at a time, you have a lifetime available for your Yoga. Get onto the mat regularly, keep it fun, keep it light, keep it enjoyable, keep it blissful.

OM Shanti, Angelika