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How to commit to your practice

Christian Ralston on how to commit to your practice

Because we know what happens when we do! One of the most common questions I get asked in studio is, ‘how many times should I come to class?’ The answer is actually pretty simple. Once or twice a week to stretch out and build a bit of strength, three to four times to notice a change in your practice and feel a few benefits, and four or more for transformation.  BodyMindlife has run challenges where students have committed to showing up for yoga or Pilates five times a week for 28 days. Students journaled how they felt before and after this month, and the results were amazing. From the last one, sleep quality was reported to have improved by 25 per cent, sense of well-being went up by 36 per cent, feelings of stress lowered by 55 per cent, and energy levels rose by 46 per cent.  It’s tough to make practice a habit. I know. When you’re up against it with Sydney traffic or the stress of work and life commitments - plus the lure of a bit of screen-time after a big day - making time for the studio can feel impossible. The thing is though, when you show up, you’ll find you have more mental space, energy and clarity than if you chose to do another hour at work or head home instead. In my experience, you give an hour and you get at least three back! Here’s how I make it happen:

Self discipline Getting to class more means making some changes. If you’ve only been coming once or twice a week or you’ve been inactive for a while, you’ll need to find some motivation.  The great thing about yoga is once you start showing up, it doesn’t take long to notice positive changes. Often you just need to up the ante for a week or two before it becomes easier to keep coming. Check out the timetable, put the classes you want to do in your calendar for the next two weeks, and treat them as a meeting with yourself. 

Healthy habitsA flow on effect from some initial self-discipline is that classes become a habit. Habits are hard to break (just ask a smoker or anyone who loves a sweet treat).  Once yoga is part of your weekly routine, you won’t need to find the motivation at all. It’s not uncommon to even reach a point when your day feels weird or out of balance without your yoga fix.

A well-rounded practice More classes means more exposure to a mix of teachers. There’s an amazing line-up at BodyMindLife and each has their own style. The more you change it up, the more you’ll move different muscles, keep your mind active and advance what you know.  Teachers can always see when you’ve been practising, too. We love seeing your progression as much as you do and so we’ll often find ways to give you a few special tips or support during the class. 

Numbers add upGetting yourself to the mat has a powerful, cumulative effect.  Consider a hypothetical scenario of increasing your regular practice from two to three days per week. This small amount of extra effort gives you a 33% increase in your time in the studio. This equates to an extra four classes a month. Expanding this further, that 33% adds an extra 46 yoga classes to a year and even further again, an extra 290 classes over a five year period - almost an additional year of practice from doing just one additional day a week! Guys, spring is here in Sydney and summer is coming. Make use of the warmth and longer days to fit another class or two in and you’ll cultivate a natural state of a healthy body, and a calm mind. Get into it! Christian Ralston teaches Yoga Essentials and Open classes each week at BodyMindLife Surry Hills and Bondi Beach. Check out the class times here.

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