15 Minutes Makes a DifferenceDec 14, 2021
If you’re reading this, I need you to know that I believe in you and that you’re stronger than you know. There’s always so much I want to say on this blog, but that’s one of the most important and consistent themes to all of it.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt like the yoga community has been inordinately impacted by the pandemic. Of course, many communities have, but I know of many studios that have permanently closed, and many that have stayed open are continuing to struggle with paying back rent, reopening safely, and getting students back into the shala so that the community can really begin to come together again.
And that has left many people continuing to practice at home. I’ve heard many people talk about how limiting the shutdown has been for them. Between practicing without a teacher or community, trying to practice amidst the chaos of a full house or the loneliness of isolation, and balancing practicing with everything else that now takes place at home that used to be elsewhere—work and school for example—it’s no wonder that many of us have felt stunted in our yoga journeys.
At the same time, for many practitioners this has been an awesome opportunity to growth.
When you’re the only person responsible for your practice, it requires you to really put yourself in the driver’s seat. There’s nobody to push you harder or further—literally or figuratively. In the moment, your accountability is 100% to yourself; this can make things more difficult sometimes, but it also makes it so that you know your practice is totally your own. This has forced many of us to take ownership over our own practices—and that, my friend, is the root of self-empowerment.
Still, it’s one thing to know this abstractly, but that doesn’t necessarily help when it feels like your practice isn’t really going anywhere. But you have to remember: all you have to do is keep going; there is no “there.” Remember: you’re still moving forward every day, even if it’s not as much as you used to expect. That is still an amazing thing.
The fact of the matter is that you can do something every single day, not matter how small it might seem, to move your practice forward. For me, that’s getting on my mat most days—even on days when I only have fifteen minutes or I know that I’m too sore to do much of anything. Sometimes, it means stopping whatever I’m doing, closing my eyes, and turning inward for a few moments. Other days, it’s reading something that inspires me and keeps me moving forward.
It’s too easy to get caught up in the idea that a yoga practice is “supposed to” look a certain way or be a certain length for it to count as a yoga practice. But there are lots of different ways to practice, and what ultimately matters is how it makes you feel.
Sometimes I can only find fifteen minutes here and there. But think about it: fifteen minutes can change your life.
Let’s do the math. 15 minutes, every day for two months, is 900 minutes. That’s 15 HOURS. So, if you find 30 minutes a day, that’s 30 HOURS in two months! And there’s no denying that that’s enough time on the mat to make some improvement, to go deeper into your practice, and to learn something new through your experiences.
Spiritual texts tell us that chaos, uncertainty, and fear have always been present in life. And they have always presented the opportunity either to hide and make excuses or to engage more deeply with your faith, your focus, and your personal powers.
YOU. MOVE. FORWARD. Because sheer willpower and dedication to your future will always pay off.
I’ve seen it more times than I can count: if you keep showing up, you can keep incrementally pushing the perceived limits of what is possible. Over the months and years, you’ll find you can do more and more with these “little” increments, and find yourself able to do things that once seemed impossible. And these little increments will no longer seem so little. Because consistent effort leads to strength, grace, and personal reward.
You can do something today. Whether you’ve got thirty minutes, or fifteen, or five.
Believe in the power of YOU. I certainly do.
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