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Tips to Stay Motivated in Your Yoga Practice

Tips to Stay Motivated in Your Yoga Practice

The Bhagavad Gita says that “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self”. But what do you do when that self is struggling to get itself on the mat? We’ve all been there. Even the most ardent yogis sometimes struggle with a lack of motivation or a feeling of just not getting what they need from a practice. The truth is, staying active on your own is hard, and from time to time you need a little push in the right direction.

Luckily, there are many ways you can spice up your practice and keep enjoying the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual benefits yoga provides. And you don’t need to attend a class or find the perfect instructor to ensure your Surya Namaskar sets the tone for a scintillating workout! Here’s how to make sure your workout works for you.

Challenge Yourself

Are you feeling bored with your practice? This is unavoidable if you’re doing the same sequence day in and day out. It’s also going to limit your level of ability. Why not take yourself out of your comfort zone by tackling a specific goal? Maybe it’s your alignment, breathing, balance, strength, or flexibility. Creating a routine around a focus like this will help your goal setting and your self-discipline. When you go even just a little bit beyond what you can do, your focus will deepen as your challenge demands your attention.

Curate Your Space

Are you finding it difficult to get motivated because you have to clear whatever room you’re going to use for your practice every time you want to roll out your mat? If this is why you’re struggling, then you need to create a home workout area. Put your blocks, bolsters, mat, straps, and towel together so you don’t have to hunt for what you need when you’re ready to work on your asanas. Add a few pot plants, candles, or any other accessories that make your space inviting and encourage you to spend time in it.

Keep Your Inner Eye on Your Goals

Be as specific as possible about your yoga goals. For example, instead of aiming to get more flexible, set a concrete goal like getting on your mat at least four times a week. There are many ways to keep track of your progress. You can choose a fitness tracker, a smartphone app, or even just mark the days you practice off on your home calendar. It really helps to keep yourself accountable, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll gain will motivate you to keep on going.

Prioritize Time on Your Mat

If finding the time to do your yoga routine is an issue, consider putting your sessions on your calendar the same way you would any other appointment. You wouldn’t skip seeing the dentist because something came up at work. Treat your yoga practice in the same way.

Review Your Intention

It’s become very popular to start a yoga session by setting an intention. This can be an idea, phrase, or even a person who you want to dedicate the practice to. If you need a little help keeping focused, try being more mindful of this. Maybe you want to dedicate the effort you’re expending on the mat to a member of your family, or a friend who’s having a tough time. You could focus on letting go or surrendering and whatever that means to you. You can also set an intention in the form of stretching tight hamstrings, for example. Being more present in this way may give your workout the sense of direction and purpose it needs. This kind of focus can also help keep intrusive thoughts like your looming to-do list at bay. And putting good energy out into the world never hurts!

Take It Outside

You may find renewed interest in your yoga workout if you try doing it in a different space. Whether you just spend some time on your mat in your garden or you know of a semi-private area in a local park, the sunshine and fresh air will do you and your practice good.

Broaden Your Horizons

With over 10 different types of yoga to choose from, there’s no reason to keep on hacking away at Hatha if your heart’s not in it! Reduce stress and fight negativity with Kundalini. Calm the mind and soothe your nervous system with Vinyasa. If you’re longing for routine, Ashtanga might be the style that suits you best. For better blood circulation in your joints and for overall flexibility, Yin Yoga is a great choice. And if you’re a fan of the classics, Iyengar Yoga may be what you’re looking for. You don’t have to stick to just yoga either. There are so many different exercise programs that you can choose from that will help to strengthen and stretch your body in different ways. A split workout routine is an excellent option, as you can work it into your schedule and still practice yoga too. Finding what works for you is part of the fun, and it should keep you engaged, interested, and excited about what you’re doing.

Timing Is Everything

In Light on Yoga, the so-called Father of Modern Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, advises followers to practice either early in the morning or late in the evening. He says that each of these times has its own advantages. Getting your workout done first thing will improve your working day. And checking it off last thing at night will leave you calm enough to get a great night’s sleep. It’s up to you when you practice, however. If these two time slots don’t suit you, put your prana to practice whenever it does. The most important point is to keep things regular so your workouts become part of your everyday habits.

Reward Sweetens Labor

If you’ve fallen off the Forward Bend wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself. Use these tips and tricks to find something you truly enjoy doing and you’ll find it that much easier to meet your goals. You’ll also start enjoying the journey rather than focussing exclusively on the destination. Giving yourself a little treat for reaching whatever milestones you’ve set yourself works a charm too. Set your goals and come up with rewards for meeting them at the same time. Maybe it’s a decadent evening of chocolate and champagne, that new book you’ve been eyeing, or some chic exercise gear. As long as it’s something you’d enjoy, stick it on your list and give yourself the credit you deserve. Life is about change. If your workout wasn't working, you have the power to change that. New habits and a new practice will make you feel a sense of accomplishment. And it’s one you’ll deserve!

By Donna Jefferson

Donna Jefferson is a writer, editor, and health and wellness enthusiast. Donna leads a fairly active lifestyle, and enjoys sweating it out at the gym or going on hikes with friends during her free time.

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