Why practising yoga with distractions is actually good for you!
We come to our yoga class to stretch, relax and add balance into our day. The calm of the room is so inviting, it seems easier to soften the muscles and let go of the day’s stresses.
Our home practice can be a bit different. We have our kids, or our partners or our four legged friends around. And we all know the best way to get their attention is to try and sit down and be still; guaranteed magnet for attention.
Try not to let this stress you out. Try to look at this the yoga way. Take a moment, breath, accept and continue. These extra people, these pets who just want to lick your face, they are distractions, but let them be a welcome distraction. These interruptions are the perfect opportunity to make your practice stronger!
Interruptions will happen, they even happen in class. There might be loud traffic outside, a noisy neighbour or someone’s phone accidentally going off. You may notice your teacher handles it with grace, acknowledging, and then moving on. Just as we would deal with pesky thoughts during our meditations, we acknowledge them, and then send them away on a thought cloud. We can do this with the interruptions in our home practice too.
Accept that your home practice may not be a tranquil rain forest. When we can accept our situations they are easier to deal with, because instead of fighting them, we are acknowledging them and moving forward. The tranquil rain forest can still exist, but instead of it being outwardly it exits in our minds.
Invited opportunities for growth.
In a perfect situation everything is easy, and we are all masters. However, that’s not life. There is ups and downs, we ebb and flow. There is no perfect, there is just different stages of growth and development. Your home practice is making you stronger. It may feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, but you are! Ten minutes of interrupted yoga is better than no yoga at all. Distractions are special opportunities to help deepen your practice.
Go into your home practice welcoming what lies ahead. Home practice wont mimic your studio practice. But you can use the tools you have learned through yoga to help you through it. Your home practice, you could say, is essential for strengthening your whole yoga practice.
Practice mindfully enjoying the moment.
Notice your distractions. Accept them and keep going. These are such important lessons in life and in yoga. Our home practice is the most amazing place to put this into action.
Your curious toddler is beside you, asking what you are doing, asking for food, wanting to climb on your plank and under your downward dog. Don’t get infuriated, be mindful of this moment and how great it really is. You are able to stretch and move with this little person around who loves you. You are a warrior, nothing can stop you. Your little one is learning from this moment, learning that mum is doing something for her, and seeing you as a great role model. Be mindful of how lucky you truly are to practice yoga at home, with your babes, and be in this moment with them. Note: kids love tree pose! Turn it into a game and see who can hold it longer.
Practice embracing challenge.
When an interruption comes along you can handle it one of two ways: you can get angry or you can be patient. You cannot control what happens in your life, but you can control how you react. Home practice is almost guaranteed to have distractions, choose to embrace them.
Your cute little puppy might have been napping when you first rolled out your mat, but now he’s here, and there and everywhere, jumping up, licking your face, and is definitely an interruption. Stay calm and let things be. Try to work around him as much as possible. While you can’t challenge him to a tree pose competition (and if you can then YouTube that stuff), you can try fitting a ‘go fetch’ game into your yoga routine; forward bend, toss the ball, warrior three, toss the ball.
Make it fun!
Remember, it’s ok to smile. You know when you’re in class, and your yoga teacher reminds you to smile, and you laugh a bit because you realise your face has been so serious. Don’t forget to smile in yoga. Our little distractions, even if it’s a knock at the door to know when dinner will be ready, can be little moments to smile.
Take a moment, breath, mindfully decide how you want to react to each interruption, embrace the distractions in your life, and most importantly, don’t forget to have some fun! Let your home practice be the practical test to the in class study sessions.
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