The best thing I ever did for my body, mind, and yoga practice was to commit to practicing every day. I practiced on-and-off for over 10 years, and then about 2 years ago, I decided to try adding yoga into my daily routine. Since making that commitment, so much about my life has changed. I’m happier, more at peace, more aligned with my purpose, more comfortable in my body, and feeling so much healthier in my own skin. Are you just getting into your yoga practice? Have you been practicing for years? Maybe you’re somewhere in between. No matter what, if you’re interested in deepening your practice by adding yoga into your daily routine, read on for some tips (and some real talk).
I have to make sure you know before you read any further: I do not stick to my schedule perfectly! I do yoga ALMOST every day. But some days, I’m busy from the time I open my eyes to the time I fall asleep. Some days, my body is sore and tired, and I know that what I need is stillness instead of movement that day. Some days, I just don’t feel like it! And please hear me when I say: skipping a day is fine. Nothing bad will happen. You won’t lose your progress (whatever that is to you). You’re not a failure. So, when setting any goal, including doing yoga daily, make sure that self-kindness and patience is always your first priority.
Let’s dive in. Below are some things that often keep a lot of us from doing yoga every day, and they might sound familiar to you. I also listed some things you can try to overcome these barriers and help you stick to your goals!
You don’t have time.
This is seriously the most common excuse ever! Also, sometimes, it’s totally true. But, sometimes when I say I have no time, I know that I’m kidding myself. I don’t have time because I haven’t MADE time. So, here are some things you can do to bust this excuse:
- Make the time. Do you like to do yoga in the morning? Set your alarm a few minutes early so you can roll out your mat as soon as you jump out of bed. More of an afternoon/evening yogi? Try incorporating a short stretch sesh into your bedtime routine.
- Pencil it in. This one is for those of us who love a good schedule. Write down your yoga practice in your journal/planner/calendar like it’s an appointment. Most of us spend all day on a schedule of some sort. Why not make your yoga practice a priority by setting aside the time in your day and scheduling your other to-do list items around it?
- Get ready. Make it super easy for yourself to get onto your mat and practice each day. Try laying out your clothes in a place where they’re easy to see so that they serve as a visual reminder of your yoga date with yourself. That way, it will also be a no-brainer to get dressed and ready for your practice so that you can focus on flowing instead of agonizing over what to wear. Bonus points if you have your mat, props, and water bottle laid out ahead of time, too!
It feels like a chore.
Sometimes, when we make a commitment to something, we feel like a failure when we slip up or don’t do it. It becomes attached to feelings of guilt and obligation. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to feel that way about my yoga practice! Try these streategies to help you go from “I have to” to “I get to”.
- Make your mat a sanctuary. Try to create a ritual around getting on your mat, however small it may be. It could be something as simple as lighting a candle or incense, diffusing a yummy essential oil, or turning on some music. I know, it’s not always possible to make your home feel like a snazzy yoga studio. But, see if there’s something you can do to make your practice something you genuinely look forward to (even if it’s just because you get to listen to some of your favorite tunes).
- Do yoga you actually like! Explore some different styles of classes and teaching and see what speaks to you. Do you like a fast and sweaty vinyasa? Or are you more of a restorative yoga lover? Find teachers you really connect with, who make you feel excited to be taking their classes. Lots of teachers even offer multiple-day programs to hold you accountable, so you won’t have to spend time each day trying to pick a class.
- Make it a group effort. Try including your friends, family, or even your pets in your practice! If you feel like you’re lacking accountability, that’s the best way to go. No one in your life interested in yoga? No problem! There are so many yoga communities online where you can connect with other yogis and flow together. And, eventually, when we’re back at studios in person, you’ll be able to flow next to other yogis and inspire each other.
There are too many rules.
Every time I set a goal, I’m tempted to be super specific and rigid with it. “I have to practice for ___ minutes every day.” “I have to do ___ type of class.” “I have to do ___ pose.” This often does a lot more harm than good. Instead of making unnecessary rules for yourself, try this instead:
- At the beginning of each practice, ask your body what it needs. Take a few seconds after you get on your mat to observe yourself. How are your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments feeling today? How are you mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? How can you adjust your practice to meet your needs today?
- Expand your definition of “yoga.” Yoga can be anything. Spending 5 minutes breathing with your eyes closed? Yoga. Doing a 90-minute yoga sculpt class? Yoga. Don’t worry about setting a bunch of rules around what your practice has to look like. Spending any amount of time being aware of your body, connecting with your mind, and taking care of yourself is enough.
- Don’t force yourself. I know, I’m supposed to be saying that you should push through. And yes, there is a certain amount of dedication that has to come into play in order to stick with your daily yoga practice, even when you’re lacking the motivation. You’re probably not going to be super excited for your practice every single day. That’s why you had to set the goal in the first place! However, it’s also super important to listen to your body, always. No goal or commitment is more important than your wellbeing, so take a day off when you need one. No big deal.
Are you trying to add yoga into your daily routine? Any tips I missed? Let me know in the comments! I hope these tips help you create a routine around self-care through yoga every day.