Are you struggling with building and maintaining a regular yoga practice? You're not alone. It’s not always easy, as there are so many other things demanding your attention, especially if you do your practice at home.
Here's a few tips to help you stay on track with your practice.
1. Ask yourself why are you practicing. Or... if you're not, why do you want to practice
This is big! Especially if you're someone who started practicing yoga a long time ago. As years go by, we tend to forget why we've started doing something in the first place. Better yet, your reason might be different than it was when you first started.
Practicing yoga is important. But why is it important for you, personally?
For example: - Practice makes me feel good - It gives me energy to deal with the day - It calms down that crazy mind - The after practice feeling is without comparison - My back doesn’t hurt when I stay consistent with my practice - It brings me in touch with the divine - It makes me understand myself better This practice has so much value! But why is the t important for YOU?
Remembering your honest answer will help you next time when you feel like snoozing the alarm clock instead of waking up to practice!
2. Keep it simple
Start with something simple and short. You don’t want to have an overwhelmingly long and difficult practice to start with.
When building or re-building an asana practice, for example, start with a short and simple practice that you can easily do wherever you are. Suryanamaskaras, a short finishing sequence, relaxation.
If it's a mantra chanting/japa practice, pick one mantra and stick to that.
More complicated and versatile does not equal a better practice! On the contrary, you will be more likely to drop it altogether if there is too much to think and remember.
Keep you practice simple and STICK TO THAT ONE PRACTICE.
3. Prepare and schedule
What time of the day are you gonna do your practice? What time works for you the best? Decide on a schedule and stick to that.
(It's more likely that you'lll skip the practice if you have to make the decision about the timing again and again. There will always be other things to do as well! Things that are way more urgent than your yoga practice).
Stick to your schedule, and soon you'll find your self having a new daily routine.
Before starting, prepare yourself a nice spot for the practice only, if possible. Keep the spot nice and clean and inviting.
Especially if you practice in the morning, choose a set of clothes on the night before. The better you are prepared, the easier it is for you to step on that mat.
Maybe you like to have a moment sitting in silence before starting your practice. Maybe you like a cup of coffee, of reading a bit of something uplifting. Make the whole experience nice and special, if you like.
4. Don’t listen to your self. Meaning, don’t fall into the tricks of your own mind!
The mind is a master of pulling you back to your old habits. The voice inside might tell you: ”You can always start tomorrow or next week!”
Or “Your arms are too short anyway, better not to even try!”
Or “You’re too old and fat to try anything new.”
Simply don’t believe your negative thoughts. Just open your mat and do your practice. There is nothing wrong with your body or the position of the stars in the sky, it is a perfect day to stick to your plan!
P.S. How many times did you notice the practice actually felt very different from what you anticipated?
5. Be gentle with yourself
If you skipped a few practices, so what! Get back on that horse. Lovingly.
Every day is not supposed to be the same. And it will not be. Don’t beat yourself for skipping a practice, you are a human being with a life!
So why take it too seriously. Instead, enjoy your practice and be gentle in yourself in the process.
And, at last, you don't have to do everything by yourself. If you feel like you could use some help in building and maintaining a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice at home, I am more than happy to help you.