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November 03, 2020 5 min read

Firmly establish your daily yoga and meditation practice so you can live in your life, not in your head.

 

Mindfulness, meditation and mindfulness yoga are three powerful and interconnected practices that can help us to stay present in the moment, and in this way to stay grounded and calm. But more important than that, they help us to be better people - for ourselves and for those around us. And to rediscover the joy that is innate within each of us. As the Dalai Lama says, these practices can train our mind to see the good in every situation.

 

They are a way of being, practices for living your best possible life.

 

These strange, stressful times are the times when we most need our home yoga and meditation practices. And yet there is so much pulling us away from them, so many distractions, disruptions and reasons to NOT practice. I don’t need to list them…you know what I mean.  

 

Live stream and online classes have helped many of us to maintain the yoga practice we usually like to do in studio. Apps can help us stay with a daily meditation practice. But you may be feeling like you’ve had an overdose on screen time at this point!  

 

And exploring the practices on your own instead of listening to someone else’s voice is actually the best way to learn yoga and meditation in depth, and to make them truly personal.

 

So I’d like to introduce you to three of my favourite books to help you establish a sustainable home practice.  Each of these books offers an 8 week training program to help you make mindfulness, meditation and yoga a daily habit you will easily be able to maintain.   They each provide guidance and insight, but leave you lots of room to play with each practice, to make it your own.

 

Why 8 weeks? Studies indicate that it takes at least 2 months, 66 days to be exact, to be able to firmly establish a new habit or routine.

 

For example, the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program first established in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a scientifically proven 8 week program that uses mindfulness practices such as meditation to offer patients an alternative treatment to relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain.  By studying patients in this program through randomized control trials, they have proven that 8 weeks of meditation and mindfulness is enough to not only improve the patient’s mental state but to actually “rewire” the brain, change it’s physical structure and it’s function in response to experiences.  It’s called neuroplasticity. This opens up new perspectives and new pathways to a joyful, fulfilling life.

 

You often see a 21 day challenge, proposing to get you into a solid routine of a particular practice or behaviour. Even though 21 days sounds like a lot of time, it’s only enough to whet your appetite and hint at the benefits of any practice. 

 

No matter how long it takes to establish a sustainable routine, you just have to started on day 1.

 

TIPS TO EMPOWER YOUR 8 WEEK JOURNEY

  1. Prepare: Make time and space for your daily practice. It’s easier to develop a routine if you can practice at approximately the same time each day. And creating a personal practice sanctuary that is welcoming and comforting is a lovely way to motivate yourself to get to your yoga mat or your meditation cushion each day.  Download your free Guide to Kickstart Your Home Practice - designed to help you with this.  
  2. Commit: Take on these practices and these processes with sincere commitment and a clear intention.
  3. Compassion for yourself: It’s not an all or nothing process, you can mess up a bit without losing the benefits of the practice, so be kind to yourself if you miss a day or two, and then just get back to it.
  4. Stay inspired: find ways to stay motivated and inspired along the way. This could include reading inspirational books or insightful poems, journaling, adding rituals. We have lots of ways to keep you inspired at HUM (our PRACTICE page, weekly newsletter and Instagram).

 

MINDFULNESS:

Mindfulness - An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman

If ever there was a right time for this book, it’s right now. Based on the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy created by the author of the book, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford who was inspired by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work with mindfulness, this is a serious, scientifically backed process that has been made very easy and approachable, and delivered with care and compassion.

The goal is to help you rediscover a joyful existence, even in the most challenging of times.

There are many insights in this book, and I particularly like the “habit releasers” which are little exercises that help to release ingrained habits or thought patterns. Various forms of mindfulness meditation is the main practice offered through this journey. The book offers links to free guided meditations you can download and for each week’s practice.

 

MEDITATION:

Soul-Centered - Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation, by Sarah McLean

This is a great book to get started with a daily meditation practice. Based on her own journey, Sarah McLean offers a theme each week that she says is “an ingredient of a soul-centered life”: awareness, peace, freedom, compassion, intimacy, authenticity, receptivity, nourishment. Each week of the program offers new insights, ideas, stories, mindful living exercises and a practice schedule.

It’s an easy-to follow 8 week program that will help you to establish you daily meditation practice, and along the way will help you find a lot of confidence, much more joy, less stress…and probably you will know a lot more about yourself. 

 

YOGA:

Moving Toward Balance - 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee, by Rodney Yee and Nina Zolotow

This book was invaluable to me as I developed my own home yoga practice. It was written way back in 2004, so it’s now a classic, and is still perfectly relevant and flavoured with Rodney Yee’s teaching style: indepth, inspiring, easy to understand, easy to use with clear instructions and hundreds of photos to follow.

Each week’s program is focused on a theme such as Being Present, Awakening Connection, and features 6 different days of yoga practice each week including asana, breath awareness and meditation. So you can try something new every day if you like. It also provides a lot of very helpful information on all aspects of the practice of yoga, enabling you to learn, grow and thrive through your practice. I think this is a great book for a wide range of yoga practitioners, from absolute beginners to experienced yogis. 

 

MORE DOWNLOADABLE RESOURCES TO HELP YOU CREATE A SUSTAINABLE HOME PRACTICE:

Get your Free Guide to Kickstart Your Home Practice

20 Helpful Books to Inspire Your Yoga and Meditation Practice 

And don't forget to explore our very content-rich PRACTICE page

 

 

 


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