My relationship with yoga began years ago but it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
I started like many do, with a few classes at my local studio. The experience was enjoyable enough that I kept going for a few weeks but deep down I knew that it wasn’t going to be sustainable long term.
I was extremely self-conscious about my lack of flexibility compared to the other yogis and this affected my enthusiasm quite a lot. There was also the financial cost. I made it to just 3 classes when I stopped going altogether.
It hadn’t been all bad however and I began searching YouTube videos looking for online yoga that I could do at home. I watched a few different instructors and eventually settled on a channel that looked to be very popular with lots of followers. I’ll get to that later.
At this point I have the best of intentions – to practice daily. I only lasted a week and the passion started to wane. I missed a few days but that was ok. I’d start again next week. Or maybe the week after. Pretty soon my yoga plans were heading in the same direction as every other fitness program I’d tried, nowhere.
But there was something different this time. The belief that this could be a really good fit for me, never left my thoughts. I knew deep down that I could do it if I just worked out how to fit yoga into my life rather than fitting my life around yoga.
It took around 6 more months of trial and error, stopping and starting, of learning what worked and what didn’t, before yoga became part of my everyday.
7 Steps To Making Yoga A Fun Daily Habit
1. Invest in a quality yoga mat
Yoga mats definitely do matter!
When I first started at-home yoga I didn’t have a mat. I practiced on the carpet in my living room. This was adequate for an occasional practice but looking back it really did show a lack of commitment on my part.
If I was going to do this every day and save money by not going to classes then surely having my own mat had to be a priority. Didn’t I owe that to myself?
I eventually purchased an inexpensive one and while it wasn’t the best quality it did get me practicing more often. It also saved my knees!
There is a saying among yogis that “getting on the mat is the hardest part” and it really is true. The physical act of unrolling indicates that this is my time to take care of myself. As soon as I step on I forget about everything else. It calms and centers me. And when I’m rolling it back up at the end of a session. I’m reminded that I have just done something good for myself today.
2. Find a yoga space you can use daily
It’s important to have an area in your home that you can practice in regularly. If you have a spare room you can convert to a yoga studio that’s great but a small space in front of your sofa will do just as well.
My space is in my bedroom. This is perfect for me as it gives me the privacy I need to do my poses in peace and quiet. There is no foot traffic to disturb me, unless it’s my husband – and he knows better, lol. Whenever I disappear to my room, the whole family knows what I’m doing and they leave me alone.
Wherever your space is, find somewhere close by where you can stow your mat and block. Make it easy to do yoga. If you have to retrieve props from the other end of the house it’s just another reason not to bother that day.
3. Choose an instructor you connect with
You’ve probably heard of Adriene Mishler and her YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. She’s a hugely popular yoga instructor online and has millions of followers all over the world.
If you search for online yoga on Google, her videos are the first you’ll see. It’s how I found her 5 years ago and I’ve stayed with her ever since.
She has a unique way of delivering her programs that is fun and welcoming and she caters to yogis of any level. She also has hundreds of videos to choose from to keep me from getting bored.
There are other popular ones too. Test out a few different instructors and see which ones you’ll be happy to listen to on a regular basis.
4. Decide the best time of day for your practice
This was the hardest for me to pinpoint but once I did, everything else fell into place.
Everyone’s schedule is different and only you can know what works best for you. If you are an early riser then mornings might be ideal. If you’re a night owl then try yoga before bedtime. If you’re a shift worker or work part-time then afternoons might be your go.
I tried every time slot but it wasn’t until I settled on evening practices that my daily routine became possible.
Which ever time slot you do settle on, be consistent. Consistency is the key to maintaining a daily yoga practice.
5. Start a free 30 Day yoga course
There are numerous studies that have shown that it takes anywhere from 21-66 days of repetitive activity to form a habit. With this in mind it’s important to give yourself the best chance to make yoga a daily ritual.
Yoga with Adriene has several 30 day programs which I have on regular rotation. Each day’s video is available for free and easily searched for.
What I especially love about these lessons is that they are sequenced in a way that gets the most out of your practice and doesn’t over work any one muscle group. It also takes the hassle out of deciding which program I’m going to do that day.
Commit to completing at least one 30 day yoga program and you are well on your way to forming a healthy habit.
6. Share your goals with friends and family
Accountability is key to success. Tell your loved ones that you are committing to a regular yoga practice and ask for their support.
My family have been incredibly supportive from day one. My husband even bought me my current mat which I love. My daughter enjoys helping me with photos for this blog.
We are more likely to succeed at something if we share our goals with others. Share away.
7. Be kind to yourself
There are going to be days where you don’t get on the mat for a myriad of reasons and that is perfectly ok. There will be other days when you do get on the mat but your mind is elsewhere. That’s ok too.
If your heels don’t touch the ground in downward dog, don’t stress, mine don’t either. If crow pose is way out of your comfort zone, skip it.
Be kind to yourself. When you miss a day, 2 days, a week, even a month, don’t beat yourself up. Just re-commit to getting back on the mat as soon as you can.
You’re worth the effort.