2019 is year 5 of us committing to a daily yoga practice. We are part of a 365 program through our Yoga studio, AM Yoga in Grand Rapids Michigan. We are fortunate enough to have truly amazing teachers who practice everyday and have created this program to help make a daily practice accessible for others. Our teachers have found (and so have we) that a daily practice changed their lives. So now they work to share that knowledge with others. It seems like a very daunting task when you first think about it. But when you actually put that aside and decide to practice everyday you begin to realize how much time you do actually have each day. If you have time to look through your Facebook or Instagram you have time to practice, even if it is just 5 minutes. This post has some helpful tips that we have put into our daily routine to help support our practice at home, and when traveling.
One thing we love about the 365 program we are a part of is that it isn’t about getting people to the yoga studio everyday. It is just about practicing everyday. That could be a full 60 to 90 minutes at the studio, it could be a 20-30 minute podcast or free flow or it could be 5-10 minutes of stretching and breathing. For us, as for most people a studio practice is more powerful and usually longer than a home practice. You are surrounded by a community of other people who also practice a lot and are on the same path. That fact alone can help carry you through your practice and make you feel stronger. It is great to have a studio to help support your regular practice. Getting to the studio everyday for us is not realistic with our busy schedules. We average 3-4 days a week at the studio and the other days we practice at home.
The first year we signed up for the 365 program we decided we needed to dedicated space in our house to practice. This is something we find helpful so that when we set up to practice at home we can better focus on being present for our practice vs thinking about all the other things we could be doing at home. We happen to have a spare bedroom which we solely use as our home yoga studio. We repainted and decorated to give the room more of a “yoga studio” feel. If you don’t have a spare room at least a small space where you consistently go each time you practice at home would be beneficial.
Another adjustment is getting used to the fact that your home practice will look different than your studio practice and that is okay. For example we have two cats who love our yoga room, they are in there with us every time we practice at home. They roll around on our mats, paw at us for attention and even jump onto our backs during downdog or other poses where they think they can find a place to jump. Yes this is a distraction but it is just something we embrace as a part of our practice and keep going. Our home practice is typically shorter as well, we tend to do more 20-30 minute podcast practices on our home practice days. But the longer we keep up with our daily practice the easier it is to do more longer practices at home. It also gets easier to feel like we are still getting a powerful practice at home when not surrounded by an entire class.
Another tip is to have a partner, we both do this practice so we have each other. The 365 program we are part of does offer to set people up with an accountability buddy to text or email once you have gotten your practice in or to practice together at the studio or home. Having a community of people doing this with you is a powerful thing. As a whole 365 group we do monthly meetings together where we flow and then have a potluck and just hang out. The program we are a part of does offer an out of town membership as well. As a member you get access to podcasts and a 365 website with additional education about the practice.
With all of our traveling we have had to get creative with making sure we still get our practice in. Usually this means a lot of hotel yoga. We have had to do yoga in the airport which is not ideal. The Dallas airport actually has a “yoga studio space”. It is not a room but it is towards the end of a less crowded hallway with privacy screens to block the area off. Most airports don’t have a yoga space, in the London airport we found a quiet room meant for napping/resting after long flights. We found an unoccupied corner in that room to put our mats down and do a short practice. If all else fails roll out your mat anywhere you can find the space. We find that as a general rule once you arrive at your destination getting up and practicing right away helps make sure you have time for your practice before you are out exploring the area. A travel mat is not necessary but we find it helpful to have a thin travel mat so we aren’t directly on the floor wherever we are. We use the Manduka Eko superlite travel mat which you can order on Amazon- Manduka travel mat
This travel mat it is thin enough to fold up into a backpack or suitcase. When we first got these mats our hands were slipping in some poses which can be very frustrating. We left them out in the sun for several hours to help break them in faster. That worked well and we have no slipping issues with these mats. We have also heard scrubbing them with salt water can help with breaking them in quickly if you don’t have the option of laying them in the sun but we haven’t tried that method ourselves.
Why we 365
Obviously we love this practice and find it beneficial since we keep signing up for 365. Here are some of our thoughts on why we 365:
The biggest thing the practice has done for us is helped us realize how much time we really have in day. It sounds counterintuitive that setting aside time this practice each day (adding another thing into your day) can make you feel like you have more time. But the practice brings you back to yourself and takes you out of your thoughts- thoughts like I am too busy, too tired, I have to take care of my family, the list of excuses and things we tell ourselves is never ending. The truth is when you take care of yourself you a better able to take care of everything and everyone else around you. We both work full time and certainly we can still feel stressed and overwhelmed. But after we practice we always feel better. Our first year in 365 one of our teachers said something along the lines of this “you take a shower everyday to clean your physical body, this practice is like a shower for your self (for your mind)” that made a lot of sense to us and is something we try to remember on the days we really don’t want to practice.
Since practicing everyday we have started doing a lot more outside of our yoga practice. Again he practice really forces you to take a look at what you are doing with your time. We both work full time, practice everyday, cook dinner together everyday, take care of the house, our two cats and our three chickens. On top of that we enjoy multiple hobbies including wine making, making kombucha, cooking and trying new foods, boating in the summer, hiking, travel, learning Spanish, writing this travel blog and we have recently decided to take up snowshoeing to get outside and enjoy winter a little more. We truly believe that for something to change your life you have to don it consistently. We both feel that having this practice to ground us each day is the reason we can make everything else we do work.
Here is the link to our yoga studios website if you want more information on what they offer. http://amyoga111.com
365 enrollment usually happens in December for the upcoming calendar year. We practice a power vinyasa style yoga, similar to Baptiste. Of course there are other styles of yoga and maybe other studios out there that offer this type of program. Find the yoga that works for you and put a consistent practice into your daily routine. We promise you will be grateful that you did!
Here are some props and other tools we have found helpful for our practice
Yoga Blocks- Manduka recycled foam block
Yoga Straps- infinity strap
Non-slip hand towel- Microfiber hand towels
Yoga mat strap for carrying your mat- Manduka yoga strap
Yoga shorts for men-mens yoga shorts
For more knowledge about the practice- Journey Into Power book
Our favorite mat for your studio practice- lululemon yoga mat