When life gets busy, getting on your mat for #yogaeverydamnday can be challenging. I remember how our teacher at YTT stressed the importance of keeping up our own yoga practice once we start teaching, even though we might be tempted to skip it. I recall myself thinking: „Me – never! I love my time on the mat!“.
Fast forward to 2019: I started my own business as a yoga teacher at the beginning of the year, life is crazy most of the time and it did happen – my personal practice took a backseat. During spring and summer, I was consumed by long days and being busy. With the beginning of autumn, I found myself more anxious and negative than I had been in a long time. The cost of not having my daily personal practice was too high and I knew I needed to commit again.
Just a few of the positive effects a consistent, fulfilling yoga practice has on my life:
Steady Mind instead of Monkey Mind
Self Trust & Strong Intuition instead of Self-doubt
Faith instead of Fear
Mindfulness instead of Reactiveness
Gratitude instead of Negativity
Here are 7 tips that helped me get back on track:
1. Create Your Yoga Space
Practicing yoga every day becomes a challenge, mostly because our mind loves to make up excuses and life can get in the way, but it can also be pretty simple. If you practice in the comfort of your home and you have a designated space that is waiting for you, then all you need to do is…
Wake up. Sleepily walk to the bathroom. Step on your yoga mat. And flow!
You don’t need an extra room to create your yoga space, any area in your home that’s free of distractions (or almost free) will do. Your space can be everything you want it to be. You can keep it basic and only have your mat and props, or add a little altar and/or some decoration that sets you in the mood for some me-time. You could use lanterns, candles, plants, images, statues, an essential oil diffuser, something nature related to ground you, … possibilities are endless. Make it your own so it adds to the quality of your time on the mat.
2. Schedule Your Yoga Practice
Having a set time to practice is another way to make things easier for you. Ask yourself if you prefer practicing in the mornings or evenings and figure out how you can make it fit with the rest of your schedule. When decisions about where & when are already made, you have fewer obstacles to dodge. If you really want to set yourself up for success you may also want to plan out your yoga clothes and the focus of your practice the night before.
You have to think of your practice as an important meeting you’ve scheduled with yourself. Bosses don’t cancel.
3. Know Your WHY
We sometimes forget why we get on our mat. We get caught up in trying to create the perfect shape, comparing ourselves to what we see online or in class. But for most of us, we didn’t make our first moves toward yoga so that we could compare ourselves to others.
So what brought you to yoga in the first place?
What is it that you want to get out of spending all this time on your mat, sweating your ass off, stretching to the limits of your physical body and sitting with all the unpleasant thoughts of your mind that you can’t escape from?
Remember and honor the true reasons why you began your yoga journey. Maybe even write them down and post them in your practice space or another spot (like a bathroom mirror or on the back of your bedroom door) where you’ll see them daily.
4. Set Realistic Goals
While your WHY should be the driving force behind your practice, realistic goals can add to your motivation.
You want to be able to hold a handstand?
Or you’re dreaming of achieving your middle split (hellooo- that’s me)?
I think working towards a challenging pose is a great way to keep yourself motivated. What’s important is to not become too attached to WHEN you are gonna reach that big goal. Instead, break it down into an applicable action plan and give yourself a pat on the back each day you show up. Make notes of your progress and/or record it on video. That way you create a sense of achievement that will keep your motivation up. And over time, you may surprise yourself with what you are actually able to do. Start with an attainable goal, and new doors will open soon.
5. Done Is Better Than Perfect
Who says a yoga practice has to be an hour?! Who says you have to do this or that, or that your practice has to look a certain way? No one! There are no rules – this is YOUR practice. Allow yourself to keep it short and sweet. The only thing that matters is that you show up on the reg and do the damn thing. It’s called a “Practice,” not a “Perfect.”
If I don’t feel like doing my practice, I commit to getting on my mat for just one song. I put on one of my favorite tracks and get moving. I tune into my breath and enjoy the benefits of stretching my mind and body even if for just a few minutes. 9 times out of 10 it turns into a longer practice, but it doesn’t have to. I aim to get on my mat and explore what I need with a sense of curiosity and creativity.
6. Get Inspired
It’s important to keep learning about yoga to stay interested and motivated. Social media and YouTube are great to find modifications and variations of poses, as well as new ideas for transitions and flows. Books will inspire you to take your yoga off the mat.
Thanks to the internet, we can connect with yogis all around the world and find ourselves an online tribe. I love my yoga sisters on Instagram! Not only do they inspire me on the daily, but we also encourage and support each other through highs and lows.
If you had a daily home practice at one point, looking back might also inspire you to get back into it. Maybe you have pictures and videos of what your body is able to do with consistent practice. Or you remember how moving & breathing at your own rhythm made you feel.
7. Don’t Skip Savasana
At the end of each practice, become fully aware of how good you feel. Let it sink in. So each time you think of yoga, you remember THAT feeling. This is what will keep you coming back to the mat.
Have you tried any of the above tips?
How do you stay dedicated to your practice?