How to make your Yoga a Habit
I know, you love your Yoga!
And it has been like that for many years, already. It is a love affair that only grows stronger and deeper. Your body, mind and soul tell you that is a forever love story: yoga love.
Yoga has become part of your identity and got imprinted in your life for good.
But… as any love affair, the ups and downs of keeping up with the work get in the way of how you fit Yoga in your life. You want to grow in your practice, you want it ingrained in your body as a habit that will never leave, like brushing your teeth ever day or walking your dog.
Still, it is not happening the way you want…
You love to go to your Yoga Studio, especially for those Hot Yoga classes, that are your favourite, but being realistic, with your busy life it is difficult to make it more than twice a week, or less…
For the remaining days that you want to practice at home, a Yoga routine is something that you need to put in place. You know how well you feel after your daily Yoga, it is your exercise of choice and after sitting all day at work, it is what your body craves.
As any habit, setting up a mindful Yoga daily routine takes some planning, time and patience.
However, being a Yoga enthusiast like you are, valuing your practice and all the Yoga benefits to your health, I am sure you can do it!
How to start and Keep your Daily Yoga Habit
1- Do it first thing in the morning – Morning Yoga Habit
For most of us is the time of the day when the body will benefit the most.
After a good night of sleep, stretching and taking some deep breaths will make you feel like a million bucks. You already know that! Half an hour will be ideal if you have the time, but 15 min will do wonders as well.
- Set your alarm for 30 min earlier
- Go to bed the night before in your comfy PJs, so you will be ready to start
- Bring some water to your bedside table
- Have your Yoga mat by your side on the floor, ready to go, make your Yoga always accessible
- Start with a brief meditation to get your mind and body ready
- Enjoy this quiet time and the privilege of devoting the first minutes of your day to yourself
2- Take an online class
If you don’t have a particular Yoga routine set up yet, it is a good idea to have an online class ready to go. Some days it feels so good to be guided and it is refreshing to try different routines, lengths and Yoga variations from the comfort of your home. From Beginners Yoga to Yin Yoga, Meditation, Power Yoga, Yoga asanas, everything is available online now. My favourite resource for Yoga videos online is this site.
This is particularly true if you’re doing your Morning Yoga as soon as you wake up.
3- Set up a Yoga space at home to get you motivated
The best way to develop a habit is to make all conditions around it pleasant and easy. Sticking to a diet, for example, is way easier if your meals look appetizing and pretty on the plate and if you’re following a prep meal plan.
If you take the time to set up your personal Yoga space at home, your chances of success of sticking to a Yoga routine will double. Making it pretty and functional adds a layer of pleasure that your habit will just happen naturally.
- Make sure your Yoga space has good natural light, if possible
- For evening practices, set up indirect lighting
- A large space with only your Yoga essentials will make the space feel larger and airy, with a good flow of energy
- Check out these amazing – and up one notch in sophistication – accessories for your Yoga room: Yoga Bolsters, blocks, straps, your Yoga mat, essential oils diffuser and a soft Yoga blanket
- Add some prints of your favourite Yoga quotes for inspiration
- If it is available to you, set up a TV where you can follow your online classes. A Google assistant can work as speaker for your meditations and podcats.
- Don’t forget to leave your cell phone in another room
- A small table where you can have a small and portable tea kettle for an after practice tea is a nice touch to end your home Yoga practice.
- Add some good energy to your Yoga room with simple Feng Shui ideas
4- Try to fit your Yoga routine at the same time every day
Probably this is one of the most important tips to make Yoga a habit. After a few weeks of doing at the same time, every day, your body will be adapted to the routine and will crave it, making it very easy to stick to your very own healthy yoga habit for good.
At this point you will also be hooked to all the mindful habits from Yoga itself and will be lkistening to your body needs.
You’ve come a long way having learned on how to start Yoga and now it’s just a matter of how to start a Yoga habit.
5- Leave Yoga visual clues
This is a very good idea for people, like me, who work from home. The “I ‘ll do it later” procrastination habit can be very hard to beat. You fool yourself thinking that for sure you’ll do it later, since you are not leaving the house today and… you know how the story ends.
Leaving your mat open or your blocks close to your desk will make it impossible to avoid the unavoidable. Keeping a print of some Yoga quotes around is also useful.
For me, my Yoga bag is a powerful visual clue. I keep it at the front door, sort of “telling me” that everything is ready for me to go hit the Yoga studio. My advise though is that if you want to keep your Yoga bag by the front door, get a cute one, like this.
6- Set your Yoga goals using a journal to track your progress
This is such a simple thing to do and yet a big step towards forming a habit of practicing Yoga every day. Along with notes and goals, keeping a visual written record of your practice adds commitment and motivation.
It will be a pleasure to finish your practice with some notes and your thoughts, your daily Yoga carefully registered. The one in the picture is featured in this Printable Stick to your Yoga Practice Bundle.
7- Yin Yoga for the days when you’re too tired
Yin Yoga is a great option for sick days or lazy weekends where your body just need a little boost without the workout. Or you can just stick to the very basic and easy Yoga poses that will get your blood circulating, joints and tissues activated and your mind clear.
8- Meditation and Child’s Pose Combo
For those days that you’re really running out of time but need your body alert for a busy day, go for a 10 to 20 min Meditation and make it into Child’s Pose. This magic pose stretches your hips, groin, quads and low back. Add a few deep breaths and you’re good to go. This is an incredible posture to be added to your Yoga practice at home, especially when you’re a Yoga beginner.
9- Know your excuses and try to get smarter than them
“It’s too cold today, I ate too much, my back is sore, I have a deadline today, people are coming …”
It actually helps to write down your most common excuses, keep it close by just in case. Of course you can always find a new one but you can do better than that and not get trapped into the mind of “excuses creativity”. It is a type of creativity you really don’t need.
Reflect on your achievements and on the reward
When you try to take on a new habit, it’s actually double the work, as you will be un-training yourself from a previously programmed state. You will be rewiring your brain and this takes time.
Some people swear that it takes 21 days for the brain to “get convinced” of the new routine. My brain in particular needs more time than that.
Just do it!
Regardless the time that will take, think of your Yoga journey and what it means to be healthy and capable of practicing. You know what your Yoga practice does for you. You know that is not always easy, it has highs and lows, many joys and also many doubts.
Because at the end of the day, you’re the one putting yourself out there, on your mat, with your breath and soul, going to wherever your mind and body can take you.