What should a daily Yoga practice look like? and should I start meditating?

8 minute article

When it comes to a daily practice, it is better to be consistent and do short sessions often, rather than periods of irregularly long practice with missing days in between.

The showing up for yourself each day embeds a sense of continuity as well as a feeling of calm and safety as your daily routine and set times allows your nervous system and inner critic to be satiated, as you conquer your day to day demons of distraction.

Tim Ferris always says ‘Win your morning, you win the day’

…If you wake up… make your bed…. do your practice and live your morning routine… the rest of the day then flows.

I recall in the 90’s when I first started meditating, I would force myself to sit for 1 hour each morning.  I’d fight the pain in my body, the voices in my head, and the grief of that traumatised kid trying to heal himself, crying out in the darkness, as I so wanted the healing & the enlightenment to happen ‘NOW’.

The wisdom of age taught me that healing takes time and comes in slow sporadic drops, then one day you look back and you see how much has changed, how far you have come and how more healthy you feel.  But this only comes with a consistent & dedicated practice (in whatever form or discipline you have chosen). There is no easy path or pill that you can swallow.


For me I chose the healing arts of yoga…

Sitting on that cushion almost 3 decades ago, instead of being present in the now, I agonised over when that future NOW would arrive … I spent the hour wanting to be in a future time – unable to embrace and observe my present mind state… therefore sabotaging my meditation.  I did however learn to sit with discomfort and be still, even when my body screamed to move.  Hindsight taught me all I was seeking was to feel ‘normal’ and calm.  (Whatever ‘normal’ is?)

Alas this is part of the journey… part of being human… part of lifes lessons.

So what should I have done differently?




Looking back at my daily practice – it has changed and transformed over the years as I read more, studied more and surrounded myself with different teachers who inspired me.

During my 20s I would wake early and do a 2 hour + Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga session at home or in a studio followed by a deep yoga nidra.  Meditation then followed.  But not always at once or on the same day.  Physically I was strong & flexible, mentally and emotionally I was a mess.

20 years ago some of my teachers said westerners needed to do the physical hatha practice for at least 5-10 years to come close to finding that ‘off switch’ to quieten down their minds. THEN and ONLY then could they start a meditation practice.

However the past 2 decades so much transformation, information & brain research has spewed into the public forum. Mindfulness became the # hash tag/ word of the decade, and the rise of the Apps and corporate mindfulness trainers emerged, where people were practicing these techniques and other forms of brain training without doing any physical training first.

Have these apps & imparted knowledge worked well on a general public who have not done the physical asana practice first?  The physical practice softens, strengthens and stretches the tissues & helps release the western stressors trapped in the body & harmonises the flow of life force in the body.

The increase of anxiety and mental health amongst all of us in the western world. Especially after the 2 years of covid lockdowns in Melbourne, informs me that we definitely need to be doing both ‘Body and Mind’ training together to have the best success in easing our stress caused by a western lifestyle.


So in order to answer ‘What should I do’

I will split my response into two categories.

One category for those who are beginners or have had some experience.

and a second category for those who have many years of practice and their bodies are supple and conditioned to yoga asana.



For Beginners I would encourage at least 10-30 minutes of asana practice before sitting in meditation. 

  • Wake, drink 1/2 to 1 glass of water

  • Do bandhas (uddiyana bandha), kriyas (kapalabhati) & asana then the body is ready to sit.

  • Set your intention / Morning prayer or chant; this is another great re-MINDER as to why you are doing this daily practice.  The mind that is minding you as you sit, needs to know what you are here for and why.  (this can be the first thing you do prior to bandhas)

  • 3-5 minutes of Pranayama – Alternate nostril breath (10x rounds as a minimum),

  • 5-20 minutes of moving into meditation (observing the breath) with a hand mudra.

  • Minimum 18 minutes of practice

  • Maximum 55 minutes of practice (which can be increased as time goes on).


To me this is a great way to win the day for beginners- 18 minutes minimum is not a long time and is achievable.  This will promote the habit in the body and greater sense of achievement from the continued consistent practice.

One size doesn’t fit all though so it is important to check in with yourself on your progression and whether you feel your physical body needs more movement or if your mind needs more stillness (or both!) and be honest with yourself and adjust accordingly.  Alternatively seek advice from a senior Yoga Teacher for further tips and tricks.



For those more experienced with an asana practice

You could do as little as 4 minutes asana in the morning (Sarah Powers always says doing 1 x Yin Yoga posture butterfly for around 3-5 minutes will target all the 6 main chinese medicine meridians and therefore kickstart the balancing and movement of the life-force throughout the energy body.)  This also allows you time later in the day to do a full class at your convenience or at a local studio…. if you aren’t doing any asana in the day, you could do up to 1 hour.  But it doesn’t have to be daily.

The big question we need to ask ourselves as more experienced movement practitioners is

‘Do I actually need more asana?


Paul Grilley has said that after about 5 years of constant stretching

and working physically with your body it will get to a point where there is not much more fascial lengthening and stretching or deeper ‘Range of Motion’ (ROM) that your body can get to.  We all have limits to our ROM and as we get older our tissues change composition and need more longer slower held shapes (Yin Yoga-esque).  Another teacher of mine Kit Laughlin also says that doing ‘Stretch Therapy’ (incorporating contract- relax PNF styled movements) in different yoga shapes means your body can rest for 2-3 days inbetween, whilst the muscle tissue that was broken down, builds back.  Doing Yoga asana daily maintains your ROM from the day before, it doesn’t necessarily make you stronger, stretch therapy can build strength at these limits of your ROM (keeping tissues conditioned and free from injury).

So the honest question to ask is ‘Does my mind need more training than my body?  Is my meditation equal too or longer than my asana practice?  Do I constantly avoid meditation? Am I often saying; ‘I will start that tomorrow?’…


Hatha Yoga harmonises the flow of life-force in our bodies and traditionally the ancients did this in order to sit for longer periods of time.  Hatha is only 1 of the 8 limbs in Patanjalis system (more about this in another blog).  As a seasoned practitioner in good physical health, we should be spending more time on Limbs 5, 6, and 7 if we truly want to grow and evolve.

Limbs 5, 6 & 7 Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, are the inner practices, the mind entrainment and focussing skills where the meditation state is reached.  The learning to sit with your ‘self’, your personality and your thoughts which then allows the ‘Self’ (the higher Self/ higher consciousness) to emerge.

Remember when I started out I was sitting for 1 hour, without doing an asana practice first?  My physical body was in pain the entire time, which meant my mind was not able to focus on, or begin to work with any of the meditation techniques.  I was literally a young man torturing himself on a cushion with his eyes closed?


Advanced Practitioners

  • Wake, drink 1/2 – 1 glass of water

  • Bandhas + Intention/ Prayer + 4-60 minutes asana

  • 5-10 minutes Kapalabhati kriya, Nadi Shodan, and any other breath practices you enjoy (see my youtube website for other ideas)

  • 30-45 minutes of meditation (breath awareness, chakra meditation, open awareness, vipasana, etc)

  • Minimum 39 minutes

  • Maximum 1 hour 55 minutes (which means a 4-5am wake up call may be needed for some)


Waking early, before sunrise also means you will have the highest amount of melatonin in your system and more mystical experiences can occur at this portal in time.  (more about that and my Dr Joe Dispenza meditation experiences, in another blog).


With all the knowledge and ‘enlightenment’ that has occured to all of us thanks to the instant internet, what has stayed the same in my daily practice the past 25 years is the ‘sitting.’


I always make sure to sit between 10-45 minutes a day.  Still and awake (or semi-awake drifting in those lower brain wave frequencies of alpha and theta).  The techniques I utilise whilst sitting can vary from ‘open awareness’,  chakra meditation (focusing on energy areas of the body), Vipasana (tuning into sensations), body scans and more… but I always make sure I sit.  I even sit at night time, by my bed for 5- 10 minutes and breathe calmly and slowly to allow the world that lives outside my bedroom door to melt away.


In the beginning you may sleep in,

you may miss a day, you may go on holiday, or a late night might occur.  Be kind to yourself and give yourself the ‘flexibility’ to gently arrive into this new daily practice.  Be mindful of your inner critic, give it room to be heard but don’t let it dictate terms.

Your inner critic is trying to help you to be the best YOU you could be, unfortunately the inner critic is often blunt, often childish & often hypocritical.  So be kind to you and your inner world, your inner life of chitter and chatter.  It is like an untrained puppy dog that is running around going nuts, it’s enjoying being in a body, but unable to be reigned in, and pooping everywhere!

The daily practice, the meditation techniques, the inner world exploration will help train that puppy dog mind and in real world terms, bring more balance, more peace and more calm throughout your life.

Start today, start NOW, for tomorrow never comes.


* all practices can have contraindications, be sure to check with your GP and a Senior Yoga Teacher when beginning any of the techniques discussed in this blog