How to Cultivate a Daily Yoga Practice

How to Cultivate a Consistent Yoga Practice

How You Can Enjoy a Daily Yoga Practice

Recently, I was listening to a podcast about home practices, and where I normally agree with what this particular podcaster talks about—that particular episode just had me talking to the radio like my grandmother used to talk to her MASH shows.  (anyone remember those?!?!)  I disagreed with at least half of what the guy said was "necessary" to have a successful home practice....and as someone that has had a consistent home practice for about 8 years, I felt like I had the experience and expertise to disagree.   I thought a blog post about a home practice would be awesome---but that’s not this post.   Then, it got me to thinking about how hard it is to get to the studio regularly --or to even commit to a consistent, regular---dare I say DAILY yoga practice.   This gave birth to my 7 Tips to Cultivating a Daily Yoga Practice

7 Tips to Cultivating a Daily Yoga Practice

(Yes, even YOU Can)

How I made Yoga a Daily Practice

I started practicing yoga 9 + years ago.  I was 30—but lifting weights and doing stuff that kids in college should be doing—clearly not someone with a predisposition to injury, more competitiveness than sense, and with a job that required me to sit 12+ hrs at a stretch (ie recipe for disaster).  I hurt myself pretty badly and thought I was doomed for a life on the sidelines.  You guys probably know that story by now...If not, go read my Bio.   Yoga practice was the ONLY thing that helped my back pain.  I’m talking, consistent, real help to the pain…even more so than epidural shots by a prestigious spinal surgeon in Princeton.  The shots wore off.  Yoga…well the effects of the practice would wear off daily,  but would quickly come back with each practice and without the need for needles the length of my index finger.  (Plus, 8 rounds of 4 shots by a hotshot spine surgeon ain't cheap folks.)  Talk about a motivating force to continue a practice, right?

How to Practice Yoga Daily

Well, you ask me, what happens if I don’t have that sort of motivation?  Good question.  You don’t have to be motivated by pain like me.  What is your pain point?  Is it crazy loads of stress at home or at work?  Is it fatigue, I mean deep down, constantly tired?  Are you so stiff and sore from either too much of one type of movement or not enough movement in general?  See, maybe you aren’t suffering from a herniated disc, but if you have some other sort of “sticky” point, a regular yoga practice can help with that.  Remember those sticky points.  They are pretty crappy.  You don’t like them, right?  Well, Yoga can help with that…if you practice it consistently (which means more than one a year or a month, in case you were wondering.)  Consistently can even mean daily.  A daily yoga practice is absolutely transformational.  A weekly yoga practice is life changing.  Anything in between is just plain good sense.

7 Keys to Cultivating a Daily Yoga Practice

  1. Recognize that yoga helps with XXXX whatever your "pain" point was you mentioned above.  You already know yoga can definitely help with that.  If you remember that the practice will help, it makes the barrier to “entry” so much easier, because the reward is oh so worth it.
  2. Don’t stress about it—sounds sorta counter intuitive that folks stress about practicing yoga—but the point of a yoga practice is to help you feel better, if you stress out because you’re gonna be late, can’t practice a full hour, don’t have the coolest leggings, or the newest mat—then you miss the benefits of the practice that you committed to. So…don’t stress.  Enjoy the class exactly where you are, how you got there, no matter what you're wearing, or how well you can do the poses.
  3. Try lots of different yoga classes and yoga teachers. Every class is different, and every teacher is different.  That’s why it’s great to try out as many different styles and teachers within styles as possible to see which resonate with you.  For example, my teaching style is a direct reflection of my personality and my training (which is Baron Baptist influenced Power and Ashtanga.)  As such, even when I try, I have a harder time settling into a more gentle paced class.  My power class is entirely different than any of the other 5 Power Teachers that we have on staff at the studio—let alone at the studios across town and the world….so practice, try as many as you can.  I promise, there is a style that’s for you.
  4. When you first start out, put it in your calendar. After almost a decade, I don’t need this anymore, but when I first started out, I would often carve out time –especially when I was super busy, because it meant I had to do it if it was in the calendar.
  5. Get a buddy! The best motivator is the friend sending you a text message saying, hey, get your butt to class!
  6. Talk to the folks around you in the class. (this helps to make the buddy that shoots the text to get your butt to class)  Everyone in the classroom with you is there for their own reasons, but the reasons are all ultimately to make themselves feel better with the practice of yoga.  See, you already have something in common, it’s the making of a new best friend!
  7. Don’t expect to be perfect. Each practice is different and each day is different.  Your body changes every single day.  What you ate, how you slept, what you did that day (or didn’t do) all of that impacts your practice.  When you add in all the squirrels running around inside your head—it’s a recipe for a potluck stew of practice outcomes.  So what if you can’t stand in Crescent Lunge today and yesterday you were able to.  The fact is, you came to the mat to practice, that’s the most important thing.  You remembered your reason why, and you will get your desired outcome, simply by showing up on the mat today.