I’m often asked how I’m able to consistently practice yoga. I think the question stems from yogi’s desire to turn a few classes here and there into a routine – making a habit out of a hobby. I always reply that the more you’re able to get on your mat, the more it’ll start to feel like home, and the more you’ll return to it.
Roll out your mat every damn day.
Guess what? Even child’s pose is a yoga practice. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or look like an hour-long sweaty practice. You can even move in PJs! Know that this practice is your own and nobody else’s. My yoga mat is always rolled out in my office. There are no rules – but one thing that does help is seeing your yoga mat #everydamnday. Place it next to your bed and/or have a second one in your car for days you go to the studio. Your yoga is always with you, no matter if you are traveling or sheltering at home.
Find your people.
I credit my roommate from 2011 for introducing me to yoga. At the time, I was living in DC with a friend who dragged me to her yoga studio. Newsflash: I hated it! She made me go back again, and I reluctantly agreed. I think it was the third time that something clicked. Perhaps it was a new teacher at the studio or a newfound energy within myself – who knows. My roommate acted as my accountability buddy, and I found teachers who I adored. I practiced consistently at Down Dog Yoga in DC until I moved a few years later.
Take your mat with you.
After DC, I moved abroad to Argentina. I tried going to local studios, but I wasn’t completely fluent in Spanish. I wasn’t able to completely immerse myself in the practice because I was too busy translating what the heck the teacher just said. I took my mat with me during the move and honed in on my home practice with online videos. Like a local studio, streaming from a subscription service has many benefits such as various teachers, a plethora of classes, the beauty of pause and rewind, and being able to practice at any hour of the day/night. To this day, I still travel with a thin yoga mat.
Wake up 30 minutes earlier.
They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. Whether that’s true or not, carving out the time will help cultivate that habit. The reality of the situation is that we always have the time if we want something badly enough. Scheduling a yoga practice at the same time every day is helpful to many, many people. A great way to start every day is with morning yoga – whether it’s 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour. And if it’s really just one of those days, bring yoga into the other aspects of your day. You might not have 30 minutes to move mindfully…but you always have 30 seconds to breathe mindfully. And that’s enough.
Track your progress.
Positive reinforcement works, and it’s no different with a yoga practice. Realizing and taking note that you’re hitting your goals is so uplifting – it makes you just want to keep going. Note the changes in your physical body, notice if you’re sleeping better, if you’re more productive at work, if you’re more present in your every day. World renowned yoga teacher T.K.V. Desikachar once said, “The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our lives and our relationships.” Truth.
Ask questions, educated yourself.
For some, yoga becomes more fun once they know more about the postures, the benefits of each one, the anatomy, energy fields and its history. *raises hand* I’m one of those people, so it’s no wonder that I took on yoga teacher training a few years back! Lots of books have been written on yoga and spiritual growth including my faves: