This post will consist of helpful tips and potent truths in relation to staying commited to your mat. Either at home or when getting out of the house to a studio. Consistancy is not just a barrier we face or experience in yoga, but a hurdle we must choose to jump over at various stages throughout our day. Our yoga practice is just as important as getting our daily water intake or brushing our teeth.
This post will begin with the foundational aspects of establishing a new habit, then delve into the more subtle aspects which hold us back. To incorperate these tips into your life, you may decide to start working through one of these methods at a time. Or you may utilize all of them at once.
This journey of yoga is your very own.
- Set An Intention/Achievable Goal
Keep in mind yoga is not going to be your medicine unless you devote intentional time towards the practice. In saying that a seemingly “simple” practice, or shorter time frame has the capability of creating monumental shifts within your psyche and physical body.
However- you may find it difficult to integrate what you experience from your practice within day to day life.
Especially if that “simple” practice happened once 6 months ago! Or maybe you practice more frequently, but find yourself muti-tasking, moving through the motions while being completley checked out in your mind.
Well then what do you do?
I’ve found that simple is best. Simple is the catalyst for all you are seeking.
You know yourself best, so make sure to choose an option that resonates most with you. In making your own decision I guarentee that it will be more likely to commit to the practice, even when you REALLY don’t feel like it!
Intention (Sankalpa): Here are a few ways to set an intention, otherwise known in sanscrit as sankalpa. I reccomend keeping the same intention for a certain amount of time before moving onto the next one. This allows the experience to fully integrate and become a part of you! Start each day and practice with one of these methods listed below-
- Choose 1 word
- Select a mantra or create one
- Choose/Write 1 sentence
There are so many options but I wanted to share 3 powerful methods I use in my own practice.
2. Your “Why”
Writing down your why is surprisingly powerful, effective, and an enjoyable reminder as to why you want to do this. Whatever “this” may be. I’ve found writing down my why to be useful in all aspects of my life, from relationships down to career, and of course yoga.
I would highly suggest writing in a journal or notebook with your hands. Writing with pen and paper is an energy exchange, making all of the words written take on their own life. There is no limit to the amount of words, pages, or whys.
Try to not put too much thought or consideration into this excersise. Remember you can always rewrite or edit everything written later. The more you write generally the deeper you will find yourself into your whys.
Don’t be afraid to dive into the deepest parts of yourself.
It is important we face our true reasonings behind everything that we do, even if you never share them with another soul. If one of your “whys” is to have more mobility (which is amazing), ask yourself again “why” you want more mobility. Be open to where this personal coversation will go. Some “whys” may uncover a deep meaning while others not so much-this is completley okay!
Come back to what you’ve written down as often as you need to for a powerful reminder as to why this practice of yoga is so important for you. This is an excellent tool to expand our thinking mind into the bigger picture, which can be challenging to access when hyper-focused on so many other things.
I would suggest rewritting or reevaluating every 6 months to a year. You’ll find the why’s will shift, change, and evolve with time. As you grow so will your reasonings behind why you do what you do.
Acceptance can be an incredibly humbling pill to swallow.
Most of the time the things we avoid doing are exactly what we need. Let me reitorate……most of the time the things we avoid doing are exactly what we need.
Guilty? Yeah me too…
It is a blow to the ego to accept an injury, discomfort in our bodies/minds, overwhelm, lack of motivation, exhaustion, emotions, and all the other aspects of being human!
Without acceptance of our own selves we may find a million reasons to not get on the mat until we “feel better”. Which just so your know- will take a lot longerto feel the more we neglegt ourselves!
In yoga we discuss working from gross to subtle. Meaning we first address the physical body before working our way into the mind and spiritual bodies. Meaning: first we must work through accepting our physical state as we are now! Without addressing our physical body, we will have a very hard time accessing our more subtle realms.
Fortunatley everyday is a brand new day.
That fresh start exists within us too. We simply don’t feel or even look the same on a day to day basis. However there is no reason any of these changes should hold us back from getting on the mat! There will always be a practice to suit our needs for our current reality. Also a huge benefit to consistancy is that the more we practice the more in tune we are for which practice will support our current mood or physical wellbeing.
Acceptance is another way to grow as a student of yoga. As well as a student of life.
Below I have listed down some common blocks that prevent us from stepping onto the mat. Underneath these common blocks are some suggested alternative practices. Of course there are way more options and I suggest to research and explore even furthur for more specific needs.
- 10 minutes of yoga or meditation before bed
- 5 minute stretch breaks every hour at work
- Nightly yoga nidra routine
- Meditate 5 minutes before getting out of bed
- Free online content
- Try new studios with their new student passes
- Insight Meditation App
- Yoga Apps
- Work 1-on-1 with a qualified teacher or yoga therapist
- Add in breathwork and meditation into your practice
- Gentle yet stregthning sequences
As always remember that this practice is a lifelong journey. Just like with anything sometimes we must take a break from a particular routine or method of practice. I just hope that one of these 3 tips can support you in a time where you need this practice the most.