Do you love how yoga makes you feel but still struggle to stay consistent with your daily home yoga practice? Follow these 5 simple steps to finally build a regular yoga habit, once and for all!
By now, you're aware of the many health benefits of yoga and you know it has the potential to make you feel amazing. Why is it then that you aren't able to stay consistent with your practice and build a daily yoga habit?
From talking to my students, I hear a range of reasons, including (but not limited to):
Do any of those sound familiar?
For me, yoga is a life-changing habit that has improved my back pain, my mood, and my overall quality of life. But it took me a long time and lots of effort to make it a regular part of my life. A combination of habit psychology and lots of trial and error is finally what made the habit stick, and I'm here to share what worked for me in the hopes that it helps you.
First, you have to decide to just DO it. You have to decide to break the cycle of inertia and take the first step. Once you make the decision and take the first step, you start creating momentum and it becomes easier to keep going.
"The distance between dreams and reality is called action." - Brian Tracy
Then - decide when you're going to do your yoga each day and schedule it in. Pick a daily time and schedule it on your calendar a non-negotiable appointment with yourself, whether you use a wall calendar, Google Cal, a planner, or any other calendar system.
So many of us have no problem keeping commitments to other people, but we struggle with keeping the commitments we make to ourselves.
PROTECT that time. You are worth it.
I get it - when you’re excited about a potential change in your life, you want to jump all in. Most people have the idea of going BIG and bold. You either go big, or you go home. Sounds familiar?
But to establish long-term habits (like a regular yoga routine), you actually need the complete opposite. I encourage you to start small and simple.
When it comes to your yoga practice, we can sometimes look at people doing the more advanced poses, feel overwhelmed, and think “I’ll never be able to do that” and give up.
But if you slow down, stay in your lane, and gradually build upon the foundation, develop stability, strength, flexibility, and better balance one day at a time…you’ll be less likely to give up and before you know it, you’ll have a growing yoga practice.
When you have a goal (like doing daily yoga) and you know what you “should” be doing to move towards it, but you don’t do the thing - how does that make you feel? When we continually break promises that we make to ourselves, it feels crappy. We lose confidence in ourselves that we can actually accomplish anything.
BUT - when you actually keep the promise you made to yourself, you’re building confidence! When you start small, you’re more likely to actually do the thing and keep the promise you made to yourself. Then you are building the belief that you are the kind of person that follows through. That confidence in yourself creates momentum. And momentum is SO powerful when it comes to achieving your goals!
When I wanted to build a habit of a daily morning walk, I started by simply walking down the street to the lake and back for 5 minutes. Over time, I found myself wanting to walk further, and now I'm up to 30 or 45 minutes daily.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” - Confucius
You can't always rely on motivation. Feelings of motivation and inspiration are fleeting. Instead, use systems and "hack" your environment. James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) calls this "automating good decisions."
Make your routine easier by removing steps needed to complete it. For example, you could:
Basically, do whatever you need to do to make it as easy as possible to get on your mat. Remove the obstacles!
Habits are so much easier to build when you LOVE what you’re doing. If you have a favorite few yoga poses, start by practicing those. Play calming music you enjoy. Diffuse your choice of essential oil blends. Find the joy in your practice. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to practice.
Finding the joy tells your conscious mind that the change is worthwhile and rewires your brain into wanting to repeat it.
When I'm not feeling like practicing, I'll just start with a few minutes of Legs Up the Wall with breath awareness. This is one of my favorite yoga poses and it always makes me feel amazing. It makes me want to get on my mat. What makes YOU want to get on your mat?
Life happens and you WILL miss a day of yoga at some point. You might even miss weeks of yoga. That's okay. When this happens, don't beat yourself up about it. Give yourself grace. Release the "all or nothing" mentality and just get back on your mat. Be relentless!
Affirmation: “I release the all or nothing mindset and take relentless steps towards my goal.”
As you continue on your yoga journey, a big key to being relentless and consistent is finding your WHY. You’ve got to figure out what you want and why you want it or you’ll give up too easily. There will be times when things don’t go as expected and where everything’s against you. In those moments, when you feel like giving up, knowing your "why" and being persistence will get you through everything.
Don’t skip this! Knowing your why is ESSENTIAL for any long term change.
This requires some self-reflection. Reflect on the reasons why you’re wanting to bring yoga into your life. I encourage you to dig deep until you get to the root cause of WHY you want to build a new healthy habit or change a bad one.
Starting on Monday, January 30th, I'm offering a 4-week online yoga program called Cultivating Consistency. This program is designed to support you as you establish a regular yoga routine, with themed classes and community check ins.
This program is FREE for members of Lifelong Yoga Online, my yoga membership with on-demand therapeutic yoga classes and programs. You can join us inside for only $29/month or $290 for the year (like getting 2 months free).
Bottom line: If you want to reap all of the amazing health benefits of yoga, a daily yoga habit is essential. Research shows that a regular yoga practice can help with everything from mental health problems to back pain, improved immune system, better balance, and mobility. It can be challenging to create the habit, but so incredibly worth it!
Because of online yoga options, a regular yoga practice is incredibly accessible these days! Come join us in Lifelong Yoga Online and get started with your yoga journey today.