How to Make Yoga a Priority: Ask Tough Questions

Questions are critical to making yoga a priority in your life.

“Remember, the process of thinking is nothing more than the process of asking and answering questions. The challenge most people face is that they are not conscious about the questions they ask themselves. -Tony Robbins”

Questions make us encounter the hardest thing a human can do, which is to admit that they were wrong. At some point, if your family, yoga, or any pursuit is a top priority we have to shed our hold habits and addictions. Liberation occurs when the compulsiveness of our day-to-day patterns meets a question.


Mantra Healing

A theory in language is that the right combination of words and setting can make us do anything. A powerful tool in yoga is Mantra which means “instrument of thought.” Ancient religions state that the right mantra can connect you with God, cause enlightenment, and solve all problems.

Questions can be a mantra, they are repeatable and act as an instrument. Our different answers, emotions, and reactions are a gauge of where we are in our minds at that moment.

mantra questions

Without questions, we wander through our day and trade what we should do for traps. Our time gets caught in what we think is important. If we never asked what is important then how will we ever recognize how we waste our time and energy on tasks and people that don’t serve our higher purpose?
Bussiness does not equal progress in yoga. Our community is filled with yoga teachers who are under paid, overworked, and who will stay that way forever. Most students tax themselves with too many systems, teachers, and ancient philosophies.
All of these yogis are too stretched out, and can’t focus on a single priority within yoga.


The Work/Yoga Balance

“Magic happens at the extremes. The problem with living in the middle is that it prevents you from making extraordinary time commitments to anything. In your effort to attend to all things, everything gets shortchanged, and nothing gets its due. To achieve a remarkable result, you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands.” Gary Keller in the  The One Thing

Most yogis run into problems when they make unrelated goals. A hefty goal such as to complete Ashtanga Intermediate Series is already too much for most yogis (hence why most who start it never complete it). Over-ambitious yogis start adding other goals to their life, like a goal to lose fifteen pounds, go to a Pilates class once a week, and stay active in the social community; we pile all these goals on top of managing a career, family, and personal life. One or two goals at a time would get so much more done in the end.
The best way to find clarity of goals and day-to-day actions are focusing questions and 80/20 questions.

Focusing Questions

Use a pad of paper or word processor to answer these questions.

Question 1: What ONE THING could you do (you aren’t doing now) that if you did on a regular basis would get you on the mat every day?

Question 2: What is the ONE THING I can do to make yoga a priority?

The questions listed above are what I call “Focusing Questions” and they are the main key to productivity. Our western society craves answers. So why focus on the questions? The quality of any answer is directly determined by the quality of the question. To quote the late Indira Gandhi

“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.”

ONE THING questions can be applied to any aspect of your life.

What is the ONE THING I can do to have a looser lower back?

What is the ONE THING I can do see my significant other more?

What is the ONE THING I can do to connect with God/Nature/Higher Consciousness?

Every day I read a quote in my goal’s notebook by one of my favorite philosophers Voltaire:

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”

Real success comes when we zero in on what matters most. Physical wealth is a secondary by-product of deep focus. Yogis need to reduce their practice to one versus many.
The first domino needs to fall to set off the chain of events to greatness.
A yogi will knock the first domino over by a focusing question. The chain to greatness in yoga or any aspect of our life is set off as the first domino falls. Savvy Zen runs off of questions, on our front page we have deliberate questions that challenge the norms of yoga.
Our success and failure all depend on how we answer the questions that line the walls of our office.

Ask yourself at least one focusing question for yoga a day. A weekly, monthly, and yearly focusing question is also very valuable. By looking small and asking questions, our results are limitless.


80/20 Principle for Yoga
“The 80/20 Principle asserts that a minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards.”
-Richard Koch

In business communities, the 80/20 has been driven down all employee’s throats. However, in yoga I rarely (if at all) see it being used. In the 80/20 principle, 80% of our results in yoga come from 20% of our actions.

80% of your hamstrings flexibility came from 20% of your efforts. The question now is to identify that 20%. Was it the sun salutations? Or the vinyasa or yin classes that got you there?

It will take months, if not years to identify the 20% in your yoga practice and life. The 80% will do whatever it can, and trick you in any way to hold onto your time.

Take out a pencil and paper or Evernote and get started in identifying the 20%. Break it down into sub-categories if you’re having trouble. i.e. Flexibility, consistency, spirituality, and playfulness.

Here are some items my 20% in yoga consists of

All electronics off at 6 pm (I wake up at 4 am)
No phone, computer, or tablet until yoga is finished
My house is 100% clean before I go to bed
Do Yoga before everyone else is up to distract
I focus on one move or body part a week
I do not push my hamstrings, but rather give light, consistent efforts.


Question Everything

Yoga is a question, how we practice is our answer. The breath that carries us forms the words, and the poses create the sentences. Our chosen sequences are the genre, and the flow our writing style. A lifelong practice of yoga creates novels upon novels until the question is finally answered.

About Ian Cattanach

Growth through yoga, nature, spirituality, writing and reading has been the central focus of my life for many years. I am based out of Las Vegas, and for the last three years teach yoga to classes, individuals and online audiences. I write novels, poems, and non-fiction books that explore and experiment with spiritual ideas. I love to ski, attend university, play with my dog Jaxon and spend time in nature.