Do you continually start and stop your home yoga practice? Are you dedicated for a week or two—and then miss a month?
If this describes you, don’t feel bad. You’re in good company. This is a common theme I hear from people ALL the time. They start out strong, and then soon enough, their yoga practice takes a backseat to all the other pressing demands in life.
Dinner, soccer practice, work, household duties, family obligations, or a friend who needs to talk—whatever it is, there always seems to be something to compete with our yoga time. Here are five tips to help you get to your mat on a more regular basis.
1. Accept that you're not perfect.
Don’t beat yourself up when your yoga practice falls off, or when you’re having a bad day. You don’t have to do yoga “X” amount of days a week to be a yogi. Don’t judge your asana against what you may have seen in a video, magazine, or studio. It’s YOUR practice and YOUR body. It’s called a “Practice,” not a “Perfect.”
2. Be selfish.
I know, that sounds so un-yogic, right? Think of it this way: when you say NO to other people so you can have time for your yoga practice, you’re really saying YES to self-care.
You have to take care of yourself so you can be a better friend, mother, sister, boss, neighbor, etc. When you take care of yourself through yoga, you are substantially better in all your other roles. So go ahead—say no once in a while, and say yes to yourself.
3. Set up a designated yoga area in your home.
This has been said thousands (maybe millions) of times before. Sometimes it’s not possible though, and your yoga room has to double as something else. I’ve got a great trick for that.
Use an image on the wall, or other home decor items, in your yoga space to remind you of your practice. I have a small figurine of Lakshmi in my living room. I see it everyday, and it reminds me to roll out my mat the first chance I get.
4. Be flexible and accept what happens in your practice.
Sometimes you set out to do a serious 60-minute Vinyasa, but after your warm-up series, you realize that you really need to spend this practice closer to your mat, grounding yourself with some gentle poses and meditative breath.
Other times, you go for a gentle practice, then realize your body wants to move with a little more tapas, or will power. Accept what comes up on the mat, and go with it—using good form and taking care not to hurt yourself, of course!
5. Use videos and books for inspiration.
It’s important to keep learning about yoga to keep interested and inspired. You can find new techniques, as well as ideas for flows and modifications, from books and videos.
However, it’s important to not rely on these for all your practices. It’s important to disconnect from these types of “Teaching Tools” and just make your practice about you and your mat. That is when you really connect with yourself.
These five things help me get on my mat, so I hope some of this helps you too! What other techniques and suggestions do you have for keeping your practice going? Let me know in the comments!
Image Credit / Yogi: Dianne Bondy