By guest author John Falepau, Yogi John
Who would have thought I’d be doing ten minutes of yoga every morning before a bowl of porridge and a cup of coffee?
I’ve always been an early riser, getting up and off to work. Not that long ago I got up to heave heavy weights before going to work. There’s still a heavy weight of sorts, throw in a yoga mat, and here I am.
Getting on my man mat every morning is the start of my day, and it’s what I look forward to when I turn in the night before. Create a habit, indeed I have.
Don’t ask me what day it is, I surpassed my Forty Days of Yoga months ago, instead ask me how I did it.
My answer applies not only to my Forty Days of Yoga, but indeed to a lot of things we want to do or start, and that is to take the very first step, and then each one thereafter with intention and purpose.
Our life journeys all started with those very first baby steps.
You probably don’t remember your own, but you know what I mean, those amazing first steps. Steps that start with a wobbly wobble forward, arms stretched out for balance, making a beeline for that smiling person in front of us.
We found our balance, survived the unknown, stepped into a warm embrace and never looked back. So much of life is just as those first steps.
And the thought of adding yoga to my everyday was a bit like that, especially first thing in the morning.
Could I commit to Forty Days of Yoga? Would I enjoy it? Could my yoga actually become a habit?
I thought of my forty days as an asana.
Each morning I’d settle in to my practice with ease, feel comfortable, stay present with determination, intent and purpose, release from it and then assimilate the effects, knowingly creating a habit in the process.
The first week was all about getting into a routine.
Each night I would pour my porridge in a bowl complete with brown sugar, set my coffee cup next to it, and roll out my man mat so it was there for me to see (trip over!) in the morning.
Pretty much everything in place, ready to roll.
The second week cruised by.
Doing seven minutes of yoga every morning, my body loved it, and my mind, wow! What started as a seven minute practise has evolved to what now serves me in ten or so yoga minutes every morning. As my experience grows so does my choice of asana.
I’m learning to listen and let my body choose my yoga practice.
Third week, day ? I realised I had stopped counting.
The effects that were a part of my day overshadowed any thought of what day of the forty days it was. Even now my ten minutes of yoga are as if my entire day is condensed.
As there is space on my mat, there is space in my day. My awareness of body, breathe, calmness and being present in the moment. Every morning it starts my day, and every day it is present.
By the fourth week a strange thing happened.
I was having fun, and going to bed looking forward to waking up to my man mat. Getting up, doing my yoga, getting off to work.
You could say it was habitual.
I’ve become very attached to my man mat, and actually have a close man bond to it, and dear I say it, I talk to it – in silence of course. It’s an important part of my life now and friend.
One morning I got up, walked past my yoga mat, and while I was in the kitchen I wondered.
What if I miss a day? What if I don’t get on my mat?
The next few mornings same thing, I’d get up, see it on the floor and tip toe around it. I would even look the other way, ignoring it. One morning I walked straight over the top of it.
Could I miss a day? Did I want to miss a day?
I would get my porridge and coffee ready, sit at the table and look back at my man mat in the lounge.
And every time, every single time I would get up, get on my yoga mat and do my practice.
I didn’t want to miss a day, and I had no intention of missing a day.
A yoga habit created? You bet.
Two hundred and something days on and yoga practice is my everyday.
It joins my Kirtan, Yoga Nidra, Chanting and Meditation. And it all started by taking those first steps and getting on my man mat.
More about John Falepau:
John Falepau aka Yogi John shares his amazing journey from bodybuilder to yogi.
From the heart, funny, insightful and meaningful musings from the man mat can be found on his blog, Yogi John – Musings from the Man Mat.