Hate is probably too a strong word—sometimes it’s only a mild dislike.
Usually we don’t even know why we’re avoiding that little rubber runway of karmic hell. It could be we just don’t want to listen to all those voices inside. Or maybe you’re coming back from an injury and are afraid of reinjury. Or you just don’t want to feel all those crummy emotions and past hurts that seem to show up with regularity, just when we’d rather them not.
And sometimes it’s just because there isn’t enough time—like now, or pretty much all the time.
I have a number of methods I use to cajole/trick/entice/seduce myself back onto my mat. Here’s my ultra-top secret method: I commit to doing three sun salutations a day for, like, the foreseeably busy future. Just three, which might take all of three minutes, literally.
It doesn’t matter what type of sun salutations they are—easy, mild, vigorous, sweaty. The deal is I can even do them with my street clothes on (which oddly look a lot like my yoga clothes these days).
I just have to do them. No. Matter. What.
You might be wondering, what can three measly little sun salutations do for me?
It doesn’t seem like much but doing just three sun salutations each day will:
- hold the space for yoga in your life
- keep the prana moving in your body
- remind you of the commitment you have to live a more conscious life
- keep dust bunnies from gathering on your yoga mat
- deepen your breath and release tension
- clear your mind
- get you over a hump or through a plateau you might be experiencing
- give your brain more oxygen
- keep you consistent enough so that you don’t dread going back to class in anticipation of all those sore muscles
- give you many of the benefits of yoga in a mere 3-5 minutes a day (depending on which surya namaskaras you choose to do)
Now the sneaky part about this is that I often feel like adding a few more poses at the end, or sandwiched in between, because after I get warmed up, my body starts to think, “Hey, I kinda like this yoga stuff.” (This is the ultra-top secret part—but don’t tell yourself about this or you’ll blow your cover.)
All this self-trickery is just a way to put away the guilt of slipping off your practices during the holidays, instead of piling it on top of eating too much, stressing too much, spending too much and getting too little sleep.
If you’ve already decided to commit to this right now, you can start TODAY.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re a yoga teacher, this is a great way to keep your students practicing as well. Tania and I used to put up a practice chart in our studio (like the downloadable one at the end of this article) so students could put a gold star on the days they practiced, even if they weren’t able to come to class that day. This kept YOGA at ‘top of mind,’ as they say in marketing circles, and students loved it.
Tania and I made you some on-the-fly videos of a couple different sun salutations you can do to keep from getting bored with your own versions, if you choose to do this with us. I like to add music for a little extra lift.
1) Easy – here are a couple quick and easy versions.
The surya namaskara below is gentle on your body…use a deep ujjayi breath to slow your movements and focus your mind. Modify the steps as needed.
The surya namaskara below is another really simple, gentle one. Feel free to drop the knee down and take the arms up into devotion pose.
2) Mild – these two will get your heartrate up a bit more.
The surya namaskara below is a variation of the classic Shivananda version.
Surya namaskara A (below) is from the Ashtanga tradition. You can step back, like Tania is doing, or hop forward and back like she shows in the next video.
3) Vigorous – this one will definitely get your heartrate up and the prana flowing.
Surya Namaskara B is also from the Ashtanga tradition.
4) Bonus! Here’s a fun little surya mandala that takes you around your mat.
Shown in this video is just one side. When you finish this, do the other side by stepping back with the left foot to start. You can add in any poses you like to customize this vinyasa. Doing a surya mandala adds a twist to your practice. Experiment to make up your own.
Certainly you can stretch these out longer if you want and add any additional favorite poses, but if you get your commitment of three done, you can go about your busy day without the usual guilt associated with not practicing during the hectic times of your life—like now.
I’ve gone through many phases of wanting to avoid my mat during my yoga life, for a multitude of reasons. If I can just get the energy moving again, with whatever sneaky method I can employ, I always find a way through. It can be as simple as three daily sun salutations. And I find that that’s a lot less expensive that years of therapy for burning through karma.
P.P.S. Tell me below in the comments about your own sneaky methods to get back to the mat. (I could always use a few more.)