It’s reached that time, the end of January is nearing and for many of us our New Year’s resolutions are already all but forgotten. Perhaps starting yoga, or making consistent yoga practice part of your life were one of yours. Or perhaps you’re looking to harness the power of your mind using yoga as a tool to help fire you up about your goals. Whatever your reasons, try out these top tips to make your yoga habit stick!
Practice at the same time
The easiest way to make something a habit is to get consistent. That might mean getting on your mat at the same time every days, or could be finding a number of yoga classes that you like and sticking to them each week. By making it routine, it removes the element of choice and uncertainty, where the conscious mind questions “Do I want to do my practice today, or should I do it on one of the following days this week”. Remember though, its not about quantity, it’s consistency that’s key. You’re far better to commit to 1-2 regular sessions each week, then to practice every day for a week, only to not step on the mat again for another month.
Embrace what you enjoy
There are so many styles of yoga and different teachers available, that there truly is something for everyone. I’m not saying you’re constantly going to be psyched to practice, but you should definitely leave feeling better for it. If you feel like it’s a chore and you’re spending every session clock watching, it’s a good indicator that it’s time to try something new, be that style or teacher. And remember, whilst you should feel a stretch and like you’ve worked, there should definitely never be any pain involved. As well as risking injury, it will result in negative associations with your yoga practice, making you want to engage in avoidance behaviours.
Get rid of the rules
As soon as you start telling yourself it only counts if you’ve done a full 60 minute practice, it becomes easier to decide you don’t have the time or energy to fit it in. Instead listen to what your body wants and embrace that in your practice, whatever form it takes. Perhaps some days that will be a 90 minute sweaty power flow, other days it might be 10 mins of yin. Remember it all counts, even taking just one posture (yes, it can be child’s pose) and focusing on your breath is yoga practice.
Have a back up plan
Yes it’s great to go to practice consistency by attending the same class each week, but lets face it, sometimes life just gets in the way. Don’t let this become an excuse to skip practice though, instead have a back up plan in place such a few online yoga classes favourited so you can easily access them to replace your class with a home practice session. There are even online sessions tailored to when you’re sick/have a cold so there’s always a way to keep up with your practice.
Leave your yoga mat rolled out
If you have the benefit of space, leave your yoga mat rolled out so that it’s easy to start practicing when you feel like it. If not, keep it rolled up but in a visible place to remind you to practice.
Who doesn’t love a good reward?! If you’re struggling to keep motivated, then decide on rewards to yourself for when you hit milestones such as 1 week, 1 month, a certain number of practices etc. This positive reinforcement will help you to stick with it, and hey, we could all do with acknowledging our successes more often! Over time, you will start to find that the mental, physical and emotional rewards that a consistent yoga practice brings to your life will be enough to make you want to show up, and keep showing up.