We all love that feeling after a yoga class. That blissful floating feeling that has your soul singing, but getting to a regular class or having a regular practice can be difficult. Even in my teacher training, a lot of us recognised that our practices at times waned.
Here are my tips for creating a regular practice.
Set your intention.
Just like we do at the start of our practice, setting an intention to practice is just as important. Take some time to think about it and really delve into why you want to practice so, when motivation is low you can remind yourself of why it is important to you. I like to remind myself that my practice draws me closer to my higher self, my best self, the person who I know that I am inside so I can draw from that well to manifest it in our world. I also remind myself what a privilege it is to be able to practice. The physical and health benefits are just a bonus.
Yoga is a householder’s practice (particularly asana and pranayama). It is intended to be practised around all the responsibilities we have. We can’t just give up our day job and practice yoga all day (even if that is the dream – one day!) We have responsibilities to family, our community and our workplace.
So, by looking at when we like to practice; in the morning, evening or during the day. Consider what days we are likely to be able to practice and how often and if we want to attend a studio, what is the class schedule. From there we can form a plan to practice.
Once you have a plan – schedule it! Set timers and reminders; put it in your diary. Make it part of that day.
Find a teacher you connect with.
If you are attending a class or one online, find a teacher that you like. If you go to a studio to practice, go a bit earlier or stay a bit later and have a brief chat with the teacher. Talk to them about what you’d like to work towards, what you like about the class or ask them a yoga question. Don’t be shy, we all were beginners and are still learning so we can understand how daunting yoga can be.
We yoga teachers love to talk about yoga and getting to know our students so we can help them – that is why we teach! Building a rapport between yoga teacher and a student is rewarding for both.
Bring a friend or make a friend in the class.
Making a commitment to meet a friend at a class can help when we lack motivation. It’s a two-way street – you can motivate them when they aren’t feeling it too! You can then catch up for a chat and a chai after the class.
30-day yoga challenge.
YouTube has some great yoga instructors who offer 14-day or 30-day yoga classes. Some studios offer similar courses. Signing up for a course can really help kick-start your practice.
A set sequence.
Whilst practising the same sequence of asana like Ashtanga, might not be for everyone, it does have a few really great benefits.
One of the benefits is being able to see your progress in your poses. Another benefit of practising a set sequence is that when motivation or time is low you don’t have to think about what asana to practice you just get on your mat anywhere, any time and go for it.
Put on your yoga clothes and unfurl your mat.
If all else fails… put on your yoga clothes, unfurl your mat.
That is half the battle won right there.
Then, start connecting with your breath. Express gratitude for being able to practice.
If you still don’t have the motivation to do sun salutations or any dynamic asana, you can do cat cow curls, happy baby, just move and stretch in any way that feels good to you.
If that is still not going to work for you… you can do a pranayama or a meditation. Yoga is more than asana.
Lastly, if it just isn’t going to happen for you today, lie down in savasana and cut yourself some slack – there’s always tomorrow.
A yoga practice is just that…a practice. Not perfection, it recognises that we are spiritual beings having a human experience in all it’s busy, complicated beauty and by doing the practice we are able to recognise it in ourselves…sometimes it just takes practice…