Anyone who says they went to a yoga class one day and since then they haven't stopped, frankly, is lying. Even yogis who have been practicing for decades will have undoubtedly had times where their practice has slipped. What matters is that they picked it up again.
Life is full of peaks and troughs, swings and roundabouts, and curveballs. Sometimes we get hit for six, sometimes we stumble just enough to lose focus on what we were doing, and sometimes we kind of just forget why we started yoga in the first place.
When the hard times come no one, especially yourself, should expect you to sail on unaffected. The days of remaining an emotionless rock are gone, acknowledging when things are hard is one step closer to getting through it. One sure way we can equip our selves for these hard times is by practicing yoga. Yoga is proven to help us deal with change and hardship, it instills in us a mental fortitude and flexibility, unlike any other hobby or sport. And that's not even mentioning the physical health benefits committed yogis gain.
So, even when we know it's good for us, why can committing to a consistent practice be so hard?
Don't make your yoga practice an option, make it as daily and routine as brushing your teeth.
1. Schedule It and Show Up
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Go to your calendar, mark down 21 classes you are going to take. Start with one or two a week, then build up to three plus classes a week. To truly commit to a consistent yoga practice, one where you'll really reap the benefits touted by us and everyone else you must stop thinking of your practice as optional or as a luxury for when you have time.
No doctor will tell you eating healthy or drinking water is optional in living a healthy life. Put your practice in that group of non-optional habits of a healthy life. If life gets busy and you find yourself losing track of time a lot, set an alarm on your phone, and don't hit snooze.
We don't simply find the time for the things we deem important, we make it.
2. Visualise the Results of Your Yoga Practice
Think about why you wanted to start yoga in the first place - sore back, better posture, more flexibility, sense of calm - don't lose sight of this. Change doesn't happen over-night, especially physical change, you need to be in it for the long haul if you want to see the results. When you show up to class, do so remembering why you started, and where you came from.
You can also set an intention for your practice and life off the mat. Think about a positive outcome you want to cultivate, compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, for examples, use this intention to focus your mind and guide you to commit. Sometimes dedicating your practice to someone else is helpful, it is a very giving action, sending someone the positive energy of your practice. Just don't turn your dedication into guilt.
Three of the most effective intentions for your yoga practice are:
3. Talk About Your Commitment Issue In Past Tense
Where the mind goes, the energy flows. When you let sentences like "I want to practice yoga more but..." or "Right now I'm too busy, but I wish I could practice yoga more often" into your mind, your sending your energy down the drain. You are putting the commitment off into the abyss and uncertainty of the future.
'Tomorrow' will never become 'today' unless you make it happen.
Yoga is good for you, you know that. Now you need to make it a reality, not a hope. As they say, showing up is the hardest part, but one day showing up won't even be an option, it will be a habit. The best damn habit you'll ever have.
4. Find A Buddy
Find someone who wants to commit to yoga, who gets excited about the changes they see in themselves and in other yogis. That's who you want to practice with. Maybe it's a friend you already have, maybe it's a new friend your yet to make at your studio, or maybe it's your teacher. Pals always make yoga more fun, plus if you schedule to meet them at class and bail, then you're not just letting down yourself, but your friend too.
5. Sign Up For A Retreat
Retreats are awesome, relaxing, insightful, fulfilling. Retreats show you just how much you can grow when you commit to your yoga practice. It's like a little time-warp to your future healthier happy you. Going on a retreat is also the perfect nudge to get you into the habit of practicing yoga daily.
Other benefits of retreats are:
- connecting with nature
- disconnecting from technology & to do lists
- a taste of living with purpose
- time to evaluate where your circumstances
- more one on one time with instructors
- surrounding yourself with positive energy
- time to let your mind calm down and stop overthinking
Our next Yoga & Surf Retreat at the beautiful Agnes Water/1770 is fast approaching, we'd love to see you grow this November.
6. Subscribe to the Five Minute Rule
If you are trying to develop your at home practice to help you on the days you can't make it to class try out the five-minute rule. Whenever you're thinking, "Ohh, I don't really feel like practicing today..." don't feel forced to practice 60 or even 30 minutes, instead, tell yourself you are just going to do five minutes. Just a couple Syura Namaskara's (sun salutations), nine times out of ten you'll find yourself getting into a grove and practicing for much longer than five minutes. If you're still really not feeling it, at least you know you tried and now you are being compassionate to your body.
7. Make Yoga Your Lifestyle Not Your Hobby
Yoga is an ancient practice, it isn't just about the asana (postures), yoga is and forever will be, a way of life. The 8 Limbs of Yoga outline the ways we live a yogic lifestyle off the mat. If you truly want to commit to your practice of yoga and change your life, you need to stop thinking of your practice as an exercise or a hobby. Stop restricting yourself to just the asanas, just one limb out of the eight which make-up a yogic life.
When you bring yoga off the mat and into your daily life not only will your life change but so to will the people and the world around you.
Salt Power Yoga is a community of education and empowerment, our teachers are dedicated to helping you live a happy and healthy life with purpose and joy. Will you join them on this journey?