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Five Tips for Starting a Daily Yoga Practice

Posted by Sky Andersen on 8/22/2016


Daily yoga helps with back pain, posture, stress reduction and a long list of other issues. Unfortunately, knowing the benefits doesn't necessarily make it easy to integrate yoga into your daily routine. Luckily, however, there are tips that can help you create a daily practice.



1. Plan Your Yoga Time.


Are you going to bed every night promising yourself that tomorrow will be the day that you start doing yoga every day? If you have broken that promise to yourself multiple times, it's because you need a clear plan. Right now, not tomorrow or in a few minutes, but now, think about your typical day. Where could you realistically fit yoga into your routine?


The best time for you may be in the morning, after work, during your fifteen minute break, after you put the kids to bed or another time. Hone in on that time and make a date for yourself tomorrow. Identifying a time of your day to do yoga is more effective than vague promises.



2. Visualize Your Daily Yoga Practice and Its Benefits.


Research into procrastination indicates that if procrastinators visualize the aftereffects of the task they are avoiding, they have an easier time doing it. These visualizations help boost the mood, and they recast the task at hand -- whether it's yoga or laundry -- in terms of positive results, rather than as a "chore" that needs to be done. When trying to create a daily practice, focus on its benefits rather than the excuses holding you back. For example, if your internal monologue starts to say, "I don't have the right clothes" or "I'm too tired", switch your train of thought to thinking about how elongated, relaxed and energized you're going to feel after doing yoga.


Similarly, studies on setting habits also show the importance of visualization. However, you shouldn't just visualize yourself doing yoga. Instead, set up your visualization with an if-then format. When did you decide to work yoga into your schedule? Visualize yourself doing the things you do during that part of your day and then visualize yourself doing yoga after those events.


To illustrate, if you've decided to do yoga after work, visualize yourself driving from work to the yoga studio, donning your yoga gear and getting into position with the class. Alternatively, if you plan to do yoga at home after the kids go to bed, visualize that routine, and then, rather than seeing yourself plop down in exhaustion, imagine yourself pulling out the mat, putting on a video and starting your practice.



3. Drop Expectations.


Don't let preconceived notions of what yoga is or should be, hold you back. If you feel more comfortable in socks, for example, do yoga in socks. If you don't have a mat, use a bath towel or do it outside using a blanket and the lawn. Similarly, don't get bogged down in whether you should take a class, hire a private yoga instructor, use a video, consult a book or just do the poses you know on your own. Rather, start with whatever format appeals to you the most and be open to changing as needed.



4. Embrace Short Sessions.


Sometimes setting goals that are too large and unwieldy can make them hard to accomplish. If you like, you can schedule a trainer to come to your home or meet with a daily yoga class for an hour a day, but for most people setting a daily habit, an hour a day is biting off more than they can chew.


Embrace short sessions when starting your daily practice. Even five minutes of yoga can help to improve your day. If you really feel reluctant to practice one day, don't push yourself, but also, don't do nothing. Instead, be okay with a yoga session that only involves a few sun salutations or even just meditating in child's pose for five minutes.



5. Set Big Goals and Small Quotas.


When setting a habit, it can help to have an overarching goal, but simultaneously so that goal doesn't get overwhelming, it can help to break it down into pieces. To that end, set macro goals and micro quotes.


In yoga, a macro goal may be touching your toes for the first time, doing crow pose or something similar. The micro quotas to meet that goal can simply consist of the short sessions described above. Micro quotas feel doable, and they are. As their effects add up and you meet your macro yoga goals, you will feel better and even more inspired to continue with your daily practice.


 

Do You Do Yoga DAILY? Comment below and let us know...