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We’ve all been through it. You look into yoga because of all the amazing things you’ve heard it can do for you, like lose weight, sculpt your body, ease your mind, and then luckily you find an awesome online class, or great studio near you.
You try out your first class. Whew, was that a workout! You feel great! You can’t wait to go back. You tell yourself you are going to go tomorrow, and this is going to be your new thing! You’ve finally figured out what works for you.
But then the next morning comes and it’s time for you to get up and go…
But you find EVERY excuse not to.
You’ve got so many errands to run, or maybe you just need a rest day because you really worked hard yesterday. Yeah… you’ll just go tomorrow.
But then the next day comes…and AGAIN you don’t go.
Before you know it, you haven’t gone in two weeks and just can’t “find the time” to go.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. I went through this, and I think almost every yogi out there went through this (and still do from time to time!)
Creating a new habit is HARD. We subconsciously try to stick to our old routines, and when you initiate something new into it like yoga, it disrupts everything. This is GOOD!
You just need to get over the hurdle of turning your yoga practice into “maybe I’ll go” to “I’m going”. You want to make it as natural as waking up and brushing your teeth.
And this is possible. Here are a few great hacks you can use to reprogram your mind into creating your yoga practice into a real daily habit and stop making it feel like so much of a struggle to get on your mat.
1.Do yoga after brushing your teeth.
Did you ever think about how you just automatically do some things every single day? Like they are so deeply ingrained into you that you just do them without even thinking about it?
Like brushing your teeth, or showering, or washing your face.
These are all habits. You developed these habits through repetitive action, and now they just feel natural to you.
If you haven’t noticed, a lot of habits are initiated by time. You brush your teeth every time you wake up, it’s not just a habit you do any time of the day. You LEARNED this habit!
If you pair a new habit with an already strongly established habit, you will start to associate the two together.
Try doing yoga after a habit you already have, like brushing your teeth in the morning. Eventually you will begin to automatically FEEL the need to do yoga after brushing your teeth everyday!
2.Plan the class you are going to take the next day.
When things are intricately planned out, you start to feel as though they are already happening. If you say to yourself, “I’m going to do yoga tomorrow” it is way different then saying “I’m going to do the 30 minute Vinyasa flow tomorrow at 10 AM.
Limiting the amount of decisions you have to make when it is time to do it also increases the chance of you actually going. It decreases the overwhelm of deciding what to do, all you have to do is get dressed and go.
3.Lay everything out.
Pick out the exact outfit you’re going to wear, fill up your water bottle, get your mat ready or lay it out if you are practicing at home. Do every possible thing you could possibly do to get ready.
This goes along with the benefit of limiting decisions you have to make to reduce overwhelm and distraction so you don’t give your brain the chance to make up an excuse to not go.
4.Do a gentle flow if you feel sore instead of not going.
I can’t even tell you how many times I skipped yoga with the excuse in my head that I shouldn’t go because I was too sore and need a rest day. Not only is this not good for your body, as stretching is GOOD when you are sore, but it is a lame excuse not to practice!
Doing yoga, even if you are doing it to lose weight, does not mean you have to do a sweaty power flow every single day.
You need variation in your practice so you don’t get bored, and you don’t need to do yoga for a certain amount of time either. If you really feel like you can’t do your usual 45 minute flow, that is okay. Try doing a gentle, five minute restorative flow.
It will help your brain feel like you are still being consistent rather than if you skip a day, and will motivate you to keep going instead of giving up.
5.Strive for a goal pose.
Setting big goals can be a great motivator to keep going and moving forward. Find a pose that you know you can’t do right now, and build your practice for the next few weeks around getting that pose.
When I first started yoga, I could not for the life of me do chaturanga without collapsing to the ground. I had absolutely no upper body strength. But I began to tailor my practice around getting chaturanga down, and wouldn’t you know it, I was able to do it three weeks later!
There are a lot of great tutorials on youtube that are progressive to building up your strength and flexibility, but most of the time you have to dig. I have tried Yoga Burn by Zoe Bray Cotton, where she gradually builds up the intensity in your practice in month intervals, and it is very effective! You can check that out here.
6.Make a master list.
List out all of the things you want to achieve (like losing weight, getting stronger, relieving pain, getting less stressed, more confidence) and then list all the ways yoga is going to help you achieve that goal.
It will help rationalize why you are doing yoga and remind you how beneficial it is going to be on your wellbeing.
7.Set reminders EVERYWHERE.
Get post its and yoga related pictures that are inspiring to you and put them all around your room. Get the list you made and stick it in a place you will see every day.
It will remind you of why you are doing this and push you to keep going so you can get the results you want to achieve.
There is nothing more effective than positive reinforcement! Plan out specific rewards for yourself when you practice consistently for two weeks, then one month, or even when you reach other goals like finally getting the goal pose you set out for.
This will make things exciting and you will subconsciously be more motivated to keep practicing so you can get that reward! Make it something you know you will definitely want to work for that uplifts your positive and healthy lifestyle, like a spa day, taking a day trip, or a cute new pair of yoga pants.
When it comes to create new and healthy habits, consistency is key. You want to program yourself into just doing your new habit everyday without having to really push yourself to do it. Like I said earlier, this comes from repetition.
Go check out our Free Yoga and Fitness Library where we include tons of yoga routine cards that will make your workouts fun! If you don’t already have the password, you can sign up to get it sent to you here.
Ally is the co-founder of GroundedPanda.com with her fiance Victor. She began practicing yoga at the beginning of her career as a Registered Nurse to cope with the physical and mental stress it put on her, and fell in love with it. Her goal is to help beginners develop a fulfilling practice without the intimidation. Besides managing this website, she loves hiking with her loving fiance and cuddling with her two silly cats.