We all know that yoga is beneficial to your body and mind in so many ways. Not only is it a relaxing way to stretch, it can also help you build strength, lose weight, and improve your overall health! However, when you stop doing the yoga on a regular basis, your former unhealthy patterns can start to creep back in. It can be difficult sometimes to stick with your workout routine when you have a hectic schedule, but it is so important to make your yoga routine a healthy habit.
In order to turn your yoga practice into a regular habit, you should follow the eight guidelines below.
1. Set strong intentions.
You can set a goal, but if you don’t set an intention for the way that you’re going to implement that goal, researchers say that you’re less likely to achieve it (2). Also, experts say that if the intentions aren’t strong, you’re less likely to follow through.
What’s the reason that you want to implement a yoga habit? It doesn’t matter what the answer is as long as it’s a reason that’s important to you.
Some great examples of yoga goals include increased flexibility, arm strength, meditation, reduced stress, and back pain relief among many others.
2. Do it every day.
Research shows that it’s easier to develop a habit if it is consistent. If you have a complicated schedule that involves doing yoga on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, you’re less likely to stick to it than if the schedule involves practicing every day.
According to research, missing one opportunity isn’t going to derail you from forming a habit. However, the more days that you miss, the less likely you are to automate the habit (3).
Tie this one back into #1. For example, I have two main goals that I am aiming for with my yoga practice: Splits and Handstands.
I want to be able to do both of these, and to do them, I have to work at them every day! Your muscles become more flexible over time with practice, but they will go right back to square one if you don’t practice often enough!
3. Make it easy.
If you are going to practice every day, make it easy. Telling yourself that you’re going to do an hour of yoga a day isn’t always feasible.
Finding an extra hour to do anything can be challenging. If you set yourself up in this manner, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
If you can’t find that hour in one busy day, you likely skip it. Then you’ll berate yourself and feel like you’ve failed.
Once you feel like a failure, you’re less likely to continue the routine the next day.
4. Follow the 10-minute rule.
To make it easy to perform your yoga practice every day, make it a goal to do 10 minutes a day.
If you try to do more than 10 minutes of yoga a day, you might find it hard to make time for it, and you’ll fail. If you tell yourself you only have to do 10 minutes, you’re more likely to make the time.
Almost everyone has an extra 10 minutes in their day. We usually use our spare time being unproductive, doing things like scrolling through our smartphones or searching through social media.
Even if you don’t feel like you have an extra 10 minutes in your day, it’s not asking a lot to wake up 10 minutes earlier or stay up 10 minutes later. It’s a lot easier to work an extra 10 minutes of consistency into your routine than an extra 30 minutes or hour.
Set yourself up for success by making a goal to do yoga for 10 minutes every single day.
5. Prep it.
To get your 10 minutes of yoga in every day, you’ll need to set some preparatory activities into motion.
You may need to get the kids out of your hair for 10 minutes or put the dog in his crate. You may find it easier to grab those 10 minutes if you’re already dressed in clothing that makes it easy to move around.
If you have to search for the perfect yoga flow and take the time to do it, you might lose interest. Set yourself up for success well in advance.
That may mean laying out your yoga clothes or simply dressing comfortably until after you’ve done your yoga session for the day. Prepping for your yoga practice might require you to research an appropriate routine the day before.
Whatever your prep work entails, make sure you get it done so that doing the yoga practice comes as second nature.
6. Enjoy the process.
Like everything in life, you can’t cheat your way through a yoga practice. Even if it’s your goal to twist yourself into the lotus pose or perfect your inversions, you can’t get there without going through a process.
If you look at the process of yoga as practice to get to the big move, you won’t enjoy every minute of it. You may even get bored when you don’t reach your goal as quickly as you expected, and you’re more likely to ditch the practice at that point.
Yoga is a great metaphor for life. We set goals, and we work hard to reach them.
However, if we don’t enjoy the process of reaching the goal, the mere act of living our lives would be frustrating, boring, and unsatisfying.
That’s why it’s important to focus on the process of yoga, not just the goal.
Yoga inherently encourages you to create a mind-body connection. The breathing techniques and movements that you practice while performing yoga help you to bring your mind into the present instead of focusing on the end result.
This used to be a difficult one for me and at times still is. I get frustrated with the process and the flaws in my practice. I want to be able to do certain poses, and it feels like my body is just taking ages to catch up to me.
Flexibility, weight loss, muscle tone, and the ability to sit still in savasana take time. Try to focus on how you FEEL during and especially after yoga practice. That euphoric feeling is what makes the process enjoyable. Listen to it and learn from it.
7. Reward good decisions.
We as humans have a tendency to perform the activities that give us short-term results rather than long-term ones. Trying to maintain a healthy diet is a GREAT example of this!
It’s easy to eat healthily, but it’s way easier to eat convenient and tastier food. It’s easy to workout, but it’s way easier not to.
Therefore, when you’re establishing yoga as a healthy habit, don’t set unattainable goals.
If your goal is to simply do 10 minutes of yoga a day, you’ll be able to reward your good decision daily. If your goal is to do a specific set of challenging poses for an hour a day, it’s going to be harder to reward yourself.
Reinforce your good decisions by making your goals easy to attain.
8. Do it from home.
If you have to pay money for a class or gym membership, drive to a specific location and get there early enough to secure a spot, you might be investing more time than you have, especially if you’re just starting out. Make establishing your healthy yoga routine easier by doing it from home.
You won’t have to work extra time into your day, and you won’t have to spend extra money. You can literally do yoga in your underwear if you do it from home!
Even if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t feel motivated unless you’re taking a class if you’ve followed steps 1-3, doing yoga from home is an ideal way to get the habit established.