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Yoga FAQ #2

How often should I practice yoga?

The simple answer is – Every Day! Yes, to get the full benefit of your yoga practice, it is important to establish an ongoing daily practice. Remember the definition of "practice (abhyasa)" as per Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, "Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness." (Sutra 1.14).

As you know, most of my classes are 1.5 hours in duration. However, for your personal home practice, it is not necessary that you allocate a full 1.5 hour session. Even if you can build a regular practice for, let us say, half an hour each day, it will go a long way in filling your day with energy, vitality and keep your mind calm and focused. Depending upon how much time you can allocate for your yoga practice, I’d be happy to recommend a routine that you can fit into that schedule.

If, however, your work and/or family situation is not conducive to a daily yoga schedule, you may try to practice as often as you can during the week. When you start practicing on a regular basis, you will start seeing the benefits of the practice. This will hopefully motivate you to deepen your practice even further by adding some additional time for the practice.

I am just too busy – how do I find time for yoga?

The simple fact is that the practice of yoga can actually "generate" more time for you during the day.

Let me explain…

The most common statements I here are – "I have very tight deadlines at work", "I am too stressed out", "Since the company fired a few people, I am now doing two people’s work" etc. Yes, I agree that the work life has become more complex and demanding these days. But despite all these pressures, the fact is that we are not able to give our undivided attention to the tasks at hand. We are easily distracted by frequent phone calls, email messages, text messages etc. Because we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, we are also stressed out. When we are stressed out, our mind cannot stay focused. When we are not focused, the same task can actually take much longer to complete than when we can stay focused.

This is where the power of yoga practice comes in. As you know, the main purpose of the yoga practice is to keep the mind calm under all circumstances. It is the practice of asana, pranayama and meditation that helps us achieve a sense of calm and peace in the mind. When the mind becomes calmer we become much more productive and are able to complete our task in a relatively short time. This is what I meant when I say that yoga can actually create "more hours during the day" for you.

So, instead of saying "I am too busy to practice yoga", by practicing yoga you will actually be able to stay calm and relaxed and accomplish much more in the same time as before. By accomplishing more, you will be able to maintain a good balance between your work life and your personal life.

Another way in which the practice of yoga helps generate more time is by way of relaxing and re-vitalizing the body and the mind. This rest and relaxation can actually reduce the need for sleep. It is thus possible to cut down on your sleep and use this extra time for the yoga practice. In effect then, you have been able to carve out some time for your yoga practice by cutting down on sleep. Despite this reduction in sleep, you will feel more energized and relaxed throughout the day.

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