By Lynn Roulo
I’ve been practicing Kundalini Yoga daily since I became a teacher back in 2009 so people often come to me asking how to establish and maintain a daily practice. And when I really listen to their questions, I’m surprised at how many misunderstandings there are about how to keep up with your practice. Here are 7 misconceptions that might be holding you back.
1. You believe you need to enjoy doing your practice every time.
This is a misunderstanding. You are committing to a discipline not a recreational sport or hobby. Some days you will like it. Other days you won’t. Your emotional state around your practice isn’t really the point. You are committing to the commitment of practicing yoga every day. The important thing is to keep up.
2. You believe you must do your practice at the same time every day.
While it is ideal to do your practice in the morning, this is a personal choice. I myself almost never do my yoga practice in the morning. My circadian rhythm means I rise later in the day and am most alert and active in the evening. I often do my practice at midnight or 1:00 am. I’ve been like this since the beginning of my teacher training. When I share this with my students, I watch relief wash over their faces. You don’t have to get up early to do your yoga practice. While that is the ideal worth striving for, it doesn't need to hold you back from getting started. Do whatever works for you.
3. You believe you must have a long practice.
My teachers used to say “The difference between a short and a long practice is big, but the difference between a short practice and no practice is tremendous.” I set my daily minimum as three minutes of Sat Kriya. Most days I do more, but that’s my minimum. With a low threshold, it has been a lot easier to be consistent.
4. You believe you must be totally focused each time you do your practice.
The goal is to quiet down your mind, connect with your Higher Self and reset each day. This is a good goal but in modern life, some days are harder than others. While you shouldn’t be checking your phone or answering calls during your practice, sometimes it happens. Anyone with a regular practice has had imperfect focus. One time I even watched part of a Game of Thrones episode during my practice. Was that a good idea? No. Did it happen? Yes. Was it a big deal? No, not really because it was a rare instance. You are allowed to be imperfect.
5. You feel guilty because you missed a day.
The goal is to be consistent, but it often takes several tries to find your formula. Don’t worry if you miss a day, just restart the next day. The point is to keep going. I was trained that Kundalini Yoga has lots of guidelines but only one rule: No guilt. Guilt is energetically blocking and generally unhelpful. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, reflect on it briefly and move on. Your guilt is holding you back.
6. You are trying dozens of different kriyas and meditations.
Early in my journey, I was changing kriyas and meditations daily. I thought it was important to try everything and to experiment. When my teachers learned this was happening, they gently expressed surprise and said, “Hmm...maybe you want to commit to one kriya and meditation for 40 days to see what that is like.” That advice has made all the difference. I’ve been doing the same kriya, Nabhi Kriya for Prana-Apana, for about five years now. I love it, and I love the consistency of it. While five years is a bit extreme, you might want to try 40-day commitments. It takes the guesswork out of your practice.
7. You expect overnight transformation.
Transformation is a funny thing. It feels like nothing is happening and then suddenly, everything happens. I’ll use myself as an example. In February of 2012, I did a complete life reset that I largely credit to my Kundalini Yoga practice. You can read about that here. But in February of 2011, I wasn’t planning to make any of the changes I went on to make a year later. You have to trust that transformation is going on below the surface. And you have to trust that your daily practice is clearing the way for those changes. It is and that’s the value in being consistent.
I hope these tips are helpful. And I also like hearing from you so if you have any specific questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me ([email protected]).
Lynn Roulo is an American Kundalini Yoga and Enneagram instructor living in Athens, Greece. She teaches a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini Yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram. She has written two KRI approved books combining Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram. She blogs about living in Greece and about her journey from being a San Francisco CFO to an Athens Yoga instructor. You can learn more about Lynn and her journey here.