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The Road to a Consistent Yoga Practice

I loved,  Too Busy To Do Yoga? Then watch this. Krista Shirley Interview Part 1 by Ekam Inhale.

“If you live in America in the twenty first century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they are doing: “Busy!”  “So Busy.” “Crazy Busy”

This quote is taken from the essay I recently just read called Lazy A Manifesto By Tim Kreider

He goes on to say how most people that say how busy they are do it to themselves by just taking on too much. They aren’t busy because of things they actually have to do but rather things they choose to do.

Then he talks about the people that are actually  busy – people pulling back to back shifts in the ICU, People working 3 minimum wage jobs just to pay rent, people taking care of sick parents. Single moms. People with real obligations

These people are really busy.

It brought to mind a conversation by Isha Yoga founder Sadhguru where he talks about  how we live in a society where everything we need is right at our finger tips but we still complain about not having any time. Just a few generations ago, whatever you needed, you had to make it yourself. You grew your own food, you built your own house,  and you sewed your own clothes. All of these were labor intensive activities.  Can you imagine having to chop wood and build a fire whenever you wanted something hot to eat?  We now live in a society  where we can pick a house out on a computer and the nearest clothing and food store is 5 minutes away. However, we still don’t have any time.

 A lot of moms ask me like, “How do you do it?” You just do it. It’s not an option. When you take that away, then it makes it easier-Krista Shirley

When I worked a regular 9-5, I used to eat out all the time. I told myself that I did not have time to cook. However, one day, I called BS on myself. If I ordered a pizza or ate at a restaurant, it took approximately 15-30 minutes for my food to be delivered or brought to the table. In that amount of time, I could have easily had a hot, home cooked meal on the table. The reality was, that eating out every day was a choice and my  being busy was the excuse I was using to justify that choice.


Our  need to fill every available moment with activity has to do with two things. One, that is what we are taught.  We are told that a busy person is a successful person and that idol minds are the devil’s workshop. . I used to play this inspirational speech by Eric Thomas for my students called, “how bad do you want it” .

It talks about working hard for something and that you shouldn’t give up until you get it. It pretty much sums up the type of work ethic society says leads to success. Having a goal and a clear path for its achievement is good. . It is the fluff around it that needs to be prioritized. It is like when your yoga teacher tells you to take out the extra breaths, the hair fluffing, the messing with clothes,the constant stops and looking around. These actions deprive the practice of its power by breaking up the flow and dispersing the energy outward. They slow down the progress of the yoga practice.  The same is true for our lives. The extra things that we do, that do not move us towards our goals, are depriving us of a fulfilled and powerful life. What is the fluff in your life?  The things that fill up space and take up money but don’t move you forward or give you much joy.

The second reason, we may feel the need to fill every moment up with activity, is a deep seated fear of what may be reveled to us if we slow down long enough to really see, feel and experience life.  Recently, one of my yoga teacher friends, Jen DeCurtains, posted this on her Facebook page:



The busyness comes from living an unfulfilled life. If we stay busy, we don’t’have to face that fact that we are not happy and that we have not accomplished anything that we have set out to do. We don’t have to face the fact that we feel without purpose and lost. We don’t have to face that fact that we are not willing to do what it takes to have a full and joyful life because we are afraid to take the first steps to having that. We know that we will have to give up what is in our lives right now and we are afraid of what it will look like without the fluff that is currently residing there.

It is easier to fill our lives with fluff than it it is to fill them with things that take us towards our goals. Usually the things that take us towards our goals require taking a hard look out our perceived flaws. It requires perseverance when everything in your world is telling you to stop. It requires failing over and over and over again. It requires the willingness to look pain dead in the face.

Every time I speak to someone who is feeling guilty for not practicing yoga consistently, they all say the same thing. “I know it is good for me.” “I feel so good when I do it regularly”. What keeps up from doing something that we know is good for us? Lets turn to the  Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. “Yoga chitta Vritti Nirodha”. Yoga is the cessations of the fluctuations of the mind. The fluctuations is the fluff.  The same stuff that we fill our lives up with physically to give them the appearance of purpose, happens in the mind as well. The very thing that helps us stop the fluctuations and get rid of the fluff that leaves our lives empty and bear is the same thing that we can’t find time to to do. This is why we must. This is why it needs to not even be an option.



The Road to a Consistent Practice


Get rid of what you think it is supposed  to look like…for now-Yoga practice does not need to be 2 hours on a mat in a heated room. That thought is also fluff. It is something our ego tells us to keep us from dealing with our B.S.  You can start by committing 5 minutes a day to withdraw the senses. Read something inspirational. Listen to uplifting music. Sing. Do something that stops the fluctuations for a few minutes. Something that cleans your mental slate and opens you up for receiving and living life.

Stop Seeing It as an Option-Is having a source of income an option? Is brushing your teeth an option? Is bathing an option? Is taking care of your kids an option? The reality is that even things we feel we don’t have a choice about, we actually do have a choice about.  Many people don’t work, practice basic hygiene or take care of their kids.What is the difference between those that do and those who don’t? They felt it was so important that they did not give themselves a choice about it.

If you see yoga as a workout or physical activity, then I understand why it wouldn’t be up there in the category of things you don’t have a choice about. However, if you see yoga as a life changing mental and spiritual activity that leads to freedom,liberation and sustained happiness, than you can see where it may go up there with things in your life that shouldn’t be driven by choice.

Get rid of the fluff-What in your life is not serving you and is a time and money eater? Get rid of it. If you are really serious, try keeping a journal where you write down everything that you do. You will be amazed at where you waste time. For instance, I love to eat in front of the TV. It takes me 10 minutes to eat but 45  minutes to an hour to watch the whole TV program. That is 30-50 minutes  of time I can pull from on days where I need it.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

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