Do you often start practicing yoga but then find yourself stopping after a few days or months? This is a very common occurrence for people starting out in their yoga journey - it starts out strong and then yoga can take a backseat to other requirements in life. Here are some top tips for staying consistent in your yoga practice.
1. Set an intention
Intentions are things that you want to cultivate more of or amplify - basically like your ‘why’ or your purpose. If you’re finding it hard to stay consistent with yoga, think about why you want to practice it in the first place. What does yoga do for you? How do you want to feel after practicing? Maybe you practice to lead a more mindful and calm life, or you want to be more present and self-aware in your life. It’s really important to find your intention because it will help you to motivate yourself to stick with your practice. Sometimes, writing it down also really helps! Try to write it in a journal, or place it somewhere you can see it every day to remind you.
2. Make your practice short and sweet
One of the main excuses that keep us from being consistent is that we think we don’t have time. The truth is that if something is really important to you, you’ll make the time for it. And remember that it's not all or nothing - even a little goes a long way. You don’t have to do an hour-long class every time, even a few minutes if that’s all you have. If you force yourself for longer practices all the time, it could also lead to burnout. The most important thing is to listen to your body and learn what it needs.
3. Stick to a schedule
Set aside time each day for when you can dedicate yourself to your practice. It’s going to be difficult and different for everyone, as we all live different lives and different schedules. There is no wrong or right time of day to practice. Whatever time works for you is right for you. It’s good to come up with a specific time each day, every other day, or week - however often you want to practice, just remember to keep it consistent. If you’re a morning person, practice yoga before your day gets started, or if you like to have something to look forward to, do it at the end of the day. Try to write it down in your calendar or on your phone, and build the rest of your schedule around your commitment.
4. Find inspiration
There are heaps of ways to find inspiration. One way is to find a buddy to keep you accountable. A partner, friend, or roommate, to check in on you and make sure you stick to your goal. When you share a goal with someone you’re more likely to stay committed. Social media can also help with accountability and make like-minded friends. You can also take photos to track your progress, check alignment and make sure you're practicing correctly.
5. Set up a space
It can also be great to set up a welcoming and warm yoga space in your house if you practice at home. Fill it with your favorite throws, and plants, and make sure it’s spacious enough to practice in. It’s helpful to have a dedicated place so you don’t have to worry about making more space.
6. Try a different style
It’s good to balance out your yoga practice by trying lots of different types of yoga. If you normally try vinyasa and power yoga, try yin or something slower-paced to get a good balance. Lack of motivation can also come from boredom, so it’s good to try new things. Variety helps you to practice yoga based on how you’re feeling and what’s going on with your body. If you’re struggling to stay consistent - try something new!
7. Practice yoga off the mat
Yoga is more than the movements. The asanas are just one of the eight limbs of the yogic path, and it can be useful to explore the deeper philosophy of yoga. Think about the main values such as non-attachment, gratitude, and non-harming, and take them into your day-to-day life. The physical aspects of yoga can help to teach you endurance, patience, and acceptance. You can use these lessons in your day-to-day life, taking a moment to pause, breathe and calm your nervous system before reacting to things.
8. Set reminders
Post it with goals and reminders, yoga posters and pictures, and inspirational people to follow on social media - if you set reminders of your goal around your home you’ll be more likely to stay consistent. Put reminders in a place you will see every day. It will remind you of why you’re doing this and push you to keep going!
9. Reward yourself
Positive reinforcement is the best way to stay consistent. Plan out rewards for yourself when you practice consistently. Try one week, two weeks, one month, and when you reach other goals you’re setting towards. This will make you excited to do things, and will subconsciously be more motivated to keep practicing. Make it something you will want to work towards and that will uplift you - maybe a spa day or a new yoga outfit.
By Amy Cavill
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