Very often I'm asked the question: “How do I practice and adapt yoga to my city lifestyle?”.
Beyond personal situations, I have observed that the 5 following points are the most important challenges to a yoga practice in modern city life...
City life is fast and the practice wants us to slow down. Take an honest look at your time table. Remove or contain the unnecessary time stealers like procrastination, Facebook or TV. Look at where you spend most of your time and imbed some spiritual pearls to it. Reading a spiritual book in the public transport will make these precious hours a new form of practice. Free more time to do nothing while present (meaning non productive, non entertaining time).
2. Connect with Nature
City life is often spent away from the high nurturing resonance of Nature. Find any occasion to reconnect with mother Earth. Walk barefoot in the grass, literally hug on trees you find, stay under the rain for a while, play with a pet, grow plants at home, wear natural fibers and eat natural products. Move to a place with a view over a park and trees. Place a poster of nature on the wall of your office. Frequent the green spaces near you. When you can, get out of the city, so you can see the stars.
Surround yourself with the right people for you, those who understand what you are doing and what your practice means to you. People with whom you can share your experiences, ask questions about your challenges and learn from their perspectives. Stay away from people who suck your energy rather than fuelling your fire. The qualities of the 5 people you spend the majority of your time with have much to say about the progress you can expect in your personal evolution.
People have reported many times “ I can’t find a teacher / class I like in my neighbourhood.” Build independence in your practice. Learn to guide yourself in your asana, pranayama, & meditation practice. Make space at home to practice, so you do not have to go to a studio. You will save massively on transport time, fuel, and traffic headaches . Beyond the flexibility gained to practice whenever it suits you, you will gain deeper insights from studying what is takes to become independent in your practice.
This is a big one, and maybe a shocker to you the first time you read it. Adapt your lifestyle to your practice and not the other way around. Make the short, mid and long term choices that benefit your practice. Change the place you live, get another job, meet different friends and partners if need be. The efficiency of your practice is proportional to the earnestness of your intention.