How Often Should One Practice Yoga,
and When Is the Best Time to Practice?

                              © By Philip L. Milgrom, RYT, CYT

My teacher's mantra is "More yoga!"  I know that many of you are so busy that more yoga is probably the last thing on your mind. We all have so much to do and so much ahead of us that stopping, or even slowing down, seems out of the picture. We chase after an elusive to-do list that is growing longer all the time. Caught up in the race, our attention focused ahead, we neglect to question whether the race we are running, or the way we are running it, is worth the cost of entry. Lilly Tomlin quipped that even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat! 

The first line of the contemplation that I shared last week in class was (quoting from my teacher Rama Berchís book Yoga: Seeds of the Soul):

"Your job in life is to find and know your essence of Greatness, and then to pour it into your life..."   

Yoga helps us remember that we are much more than a frantic rat. Yoga reminds us of our real job and highest priority. When we get caught up spinning on the treadmill, forging ahead but disconnected with our essence, what are we pouring into our lives?  What are we accomplishing? More important, what are we losing, and what do those we love lose as a result? How can we truly love when we are in a spin? 

So to answer the original question, how often should we practice yoga, I suggest practicing whenever possible.  

I know what some of you are thinking: "Oh sure! That is easier said than done!"  

Honestly, I am thinking that, too!  I know how difficult it can be to put aside the tasks at hand. I also appreciate that most of those many things you are doing are much more important than what a rat does on a treadmill. You have jobs, families, homes, and so forth to care for. These are certainly important, and they do require time. There are only 24 hours in a day, and we have to sleep some! 

But remember that when you stop to practice yoga, you do not have to practice a full hour and a half every time, as in a typical yoga class. Even a few minutes will do!  A few minutes of practice is better than nothing, and every time you practice, you are enriched. This past week or so has been March Madness, when the college basketball teams (menís and womenís) vie for the national championship. This sport, as with just about every other sport I know of, has breaks built into it (after each quarter, for example). In addition, time outs can be called: whenever a teamís play starts to fall apart or the momentum is lost, the team can call time out to regroup. The time out only consists of a few seconds, a minute or so at most, but it can make the difference between victory and defeat.  

In the same way, I recommend that you plan for regular breaks in your day, and whenever you start spinning out of control, call time out! Just do a few yoga postures, perhaps some Ujjayi breathing, and you will get a handle on things again. Do not let the March Madness get to you, nor any monthís madness!  

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