I have been spending the last twelve months unpeeling a few layers away to reveal some home truths. My home practice has almost been non-existence for this time as I focus on taking in the studies, I signed up too. It has been challenging in so many ways as I watch repeated patterns and behaviours unfold. Yet I denied myself probably the most important thing of all.
Showing up to the mat had become engrained in my body. Yet here I was being invited to ‘show up’ and embrace new information and all I wanted to do was run, run, run. Showing up had suddenly moved from being comfortable – I mean I did it mostly every day and I was feeling great for it. But I knew something was missing. The moment I found what was missing by having to create a practice based on the teachings from the beautiful Nat Love and the Institute of Feminine Arts I just couldn’t do it anymore. So I neglected my daily practice. What did that result in?
Well beside the fact that it resulted in me exploring and really listening which was the end result, I put on weight, the voices in my head got louder and I think I got a little bit more obnoxious. Until I realised I was just repeating the patterns and behaviours my previous practice had managed to hold at bay. It was at that point I realised the number reason we need to maintain a daily practice.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to show up to your mat and here is my top 5. Creating a daily practice will:
1. Support and improve your health
Developing a physical practice like yoga or even a daily cardio regime, like walking or jogging or going to the gym will improve your physical fitness and build your core strength. Along with this there is something about daily practices that can improve you mental and emotional health. So all around you find an all over strengthening of your health.
2. Develop a stronger immune system
This relates to the above benefit of creating a daily practice. In oriental medicine there is a correlation with improved oxygenation to the body, lung Qi and Wei Qi (immunity / protective system). When we have a flow of unobstructed oxygen moving through our body and we create harmony of the lung Qi our immune system is sufficiently strong enough to protect us from external pathogens. Daily pranayama practices, yoga and even cardio fitness will support our immune system.
3. Developing a healthier relationship with what we feed our body (nutritionally and socially)
A daily practice can support a healthier outlook which in turn can lead to a natural tendency to want to feed the body a well-balanced diet. As we feel better about ourselves there is a natural desire to lean towards what will support us. Its not unusual that our unhealthy cravings – scrolling through social media, gossiping, eating sugary or unhealthy foods begin to fall away as we recognize how good it feels to be healthy in mind and body.
4. The connection to others and self deepens
Working our body develops an awareness. And if we remain conscious in that awareness we begin to feel and sense ourselves which leads to a greater connection to others. Yes it might be painful in some circumstances to see some ugly truths about ourselves (and even others) but if we keep feeling into it we find it drops away and all that is left is this beautiful deep connection to who we are. This leads to forging deeper and even more loving connection to those around us. But do be prepared for some relationships to fall away. Not everyone is going to understand or even appreciate you connecting to yourself on this new level. That is the power of a daily practice – your life will change in so many ways. And this brings me to the number ONE benefit for showing up to your daily practice…
5. YOU START TO SHOW UP TO YOURSELF
Those patterns, behaviours and habits your have been avoiding will reveal themselves. It will be hard work some days. But if you keep showing up you begin that process of connecting deeply with yourself which means you no longer want to change for others – you begin to just want to be YOU. The relationship you have with the authentic you soften and create space to be all that you are! The affirmation “I am” develops a brand-new meaning. Your decision-making process changes, you develop boundaries and you show up to yourself.