Yoga every day? But what about the kids’ tea?
Okay so I don’t have kids of my own, but I do have a full time job teaching other people’s which is pretty demanding and at times full on. Along with my role as part of the Kula team, this often means that fitting my own practice in (and managing to stay awake beyond 8 p.m.!) is often pretty tricky. As an Ashtanga practitioner I’m particularly interested in this. Ashtanga yoga would traditionally be practiced six days a week but in our busy Western world, do we really have the time?

Sometimes the answer is yes. There are some weeks when I have plenty of time to spend with my yoga; morning practices of the primary series before work and Saturday at Kula with Kirsten (followed by brunch at Nichols with the super lovely Yoga Ladies!). I sometimes even manage two trips to the mat on a Wednesday when I begin the day at home with my own practice and then treat myself to Julia’s fabulous Yin class after work.

But the reality is there are days when I’m just too busy (or tired, or broken!) for my yoga and this can generate a negative relationship with my practice. I begin to feel guilty for ‘not being dedicated’ and might beat myself up for ‘failing’. I feel the physical and emotional impact of missing that time away from the world too, which then, of course, begins to make me feel worse. As a yoga teacher, I guess this might sound a little shocking; aren’t we meant to be all ‘guru-like’, smiling serenely as we drink chai with our feet comfortably wrapped behind our ears? (I do like chai. I’m yet to get my feet behind my head.) Hopefully it’s not shocking, just honest. And ultimately helpful: I want to tell you how I cope and over the next few weeks offer some practical advice about how we can manage to get the balance right (and not just in tree pose).

Lesson one –  Start with a salutation. Just one. Don’t expect or anticipate that you will do more. Just get on the mat and reward yourself with the acceptance that this one surya namaskar is a yoga practice in itself.

Helen Ince teaches Ashtanga Yoga & Hatha Yoga at Yoga Kula Leeds