“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I love the feeling after practising Yoga. I usually feel more centred and aware of the physical sensations after spending most of the day not knowing where the different parts of my body are. My mood changes and my mind feels clearer. The sensation is hard to compare with anything else. Yoga is indeed a wonderful thing to experience (otherwise one couldn’t understand why it has so many adepts around the world!) but I often found it difficult to keep a regular practice. Throughout the years I discovered that the following things helped me to practise consistently.
If you are struggling to show up on your mat regularly check out these 8 simple strategies to help you return to your practice consistently.
8 ways to keep a consistent yoga practice:
1. Define a day and a time
If waking up earlier is not choice, choose a day and time that will suit you more or less every week. If you need to, discuss with your family a possible time slot that works for everyone and doesn’t disrupt the family routines. Plan ahead and organise keeping in mind your usual activities. Mark your calendar just as you would do with any other important appointment! Think of your practice as an investment in yourself: if you don’t have the time, make it.
2. Make a wiser use of your time
Take note of how you spend your free time and breaks during the week. Perhaps you can cut out (or reduce) Netflix and social media! Have you ever noticed how much time you spend on these platforms? Trading these for some Yoga sounds like a much healthier and happier alternative.
3. Visit a studio or buy an online course to practice from home
Money is a powerful incentive: you paid for the service, now use it!
4. Search the web for free classes and inspiration
Video platforms like YouTube are full of great quality videos of different lengths. Check your favourite yoga instructor’s Instagram stories and Facebook live videos: they probably offer a free class from time to time.
5. Create your own yoga corner
You don’t need an extra room to practice Yoga regularly. Define a small space for meditation and yoga practice in your house to put your mat and blocks, keep it clean and tidy. It is easier to stick a to a practice if your mat and blocks are out and visible than stored in a closet. In stressful days I would see my mat on the floor and quickly do a Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) for a few breaths to stretch my back and change my perspective of things, literally!
Get creative and make it inspiring for you: display your gemstones, incense sticks and singing bowls if you have. Prepare your own yoga mat cleaner using your favourite essential oils. Check out my blog post about creating your own sacred space here.
6. Don’t underestimate the power of a 5-minute practice
If you keep postponing your practice waiting for you to finally wake up at 5:00 AM after a great night of sleep and jump effortlessly on to your mat for a full 90-minute session ready to give it all, something doesn’t add up. It is better to keep the expectations low and do some yoga (asana, meditation, visualization or just breathing mindfully!) for a few minutes every day or every other day than hoping for the perfect conditions to come together for a full practice every once in a while. Read more about the benefits of a 5 minute practice here.
7. Put excuses aside
Think of how you feel after each class or the next day. Return to the questions: Why do you practice yoga? How do you benefit from it?
8. Make it a conscious choice
You deserve the space and time, and people around you will notice its effects too! But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it this week or the week after. Creating a habit takes time and a certain amount of self-discipline.