8 Tips for Committing to a Daily Yoga Practice.

Via on Nov 16, 2010

Are you a yoga beginner? Or are you looking to start a daily practice?

Or maybe you’re more like me, whose personal yoga practice of late could be classified as either “dithering” or “nonexistent.” Either way, have I ever got some tips for you! Read on:

1. Tell your most critical friend about your yoga commitment. The friend who never supports anything you do, the friend who believes yoga is for new-age hippies who do nothing but sit around braiding flowers in their hair all day. Imagine the satisfaction you will feel when you prove him or her wrong! Conversely, tell your friend with the best memory – you know, the one who will stand up to make a toast at your wedding ten years from now and say, “I never thought she could commit…we all remember the time she tried yoga!” while everyone laughs uproariously. Think of the embarrassment, the shame!

2. Put away your well-worn VHS copy of “Gentle Yoga for Beginners” and buy a pass at a local studio. Or a membership to a website that streams yoga classes online (MyYogaOnline and YogaVibes are good, in my opinion). Even just for one month. For all you pennywise folk out there, there is no greater motivation to go to a class than knowing you are getting the most bang for your buck! This also gives you the opportunity to try different teachers and/or styles of yoga, which leads me to…

3. Find a teacher and/or style that resonates with you. There’s nothing worse than trying to go to class every day when you’re convinced that if the teacher says, “…and then just smile, and let go…” one more time you will have a conniption fit. Leave the struggle between good and evil for another time and pick classes you genuinely enjoy.

4. Sign up for a 20, 30, 40-day challenge. Yoga studios often hold such challenges as motivation and encouragement for struggling practitioners to commit to a daily practice. Oh, and also because having a regular practice is good for you. There are often special sales on class passes (hooray!), and studios will sometimes put up a tracking chart where you can monitor your progress. Who knew that putting a smiley-face sticker beside your name every day could be so satisfying?

5. Unroll your mat. Not everyone can make it to a studio for a class every day, so practicing at home is a great alternative. Once you’ve unrolled your mat, you have three options: do your practice, leave your mat out to be trampled on and sullied, or put your mat away. In the interest of maximizing opportunity cost, the first choice is ideal. Disclaimer: I did poorly in my Economics class, so don’t take my word for that bit on opportunity cost. Just make the right choice.

6. Put on some music and groove to it. Pick a song and unleash yourself on your mat. Mark Whitwell says that seven minutes of yoga every day is all you need. Deva Premal & Miten’s ‘Drop the Baggage’ is exactly 7 minutes and 1 second. Coincidence? I think not, my friend! (Alternatively, Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ is just over 7 minutes, if you’re more into that sort of thing…)

7. Take it easy! Nobody said a daily yoga practice has to be a daily Power practice, or a daily Ashtanga practice (okay, maybe somebody actually did, but I disagree). I think that Sundays and Restorative Yoga were made for one another, and if anyone were to tell me otherwise, my mind would officially be blown. Get yourself into Pigeon pose and stay there for five minutes, I dare you. But don’t do it after your morning cup of coffee or you might really want to jump up and fly afterwards.

8. Finally, set an intention. Write it down. Explore the reasons why you want and need to do this for yourself. Make it real. The greatest inspiration often comes from within.

About Julia Lee

Julia is a yoga teacher, lover of all things, and dedicated student of life. She strives to be open to whatever the universe throws her way and practice her yoga off the mat at all times. Julia believes that the best lessons can often be found in the most unusual places. She writes about her experiences at julialeeyoga.com and on Twitter @julialeeyoga.

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10 Responses to “8 Tips for Committing to a Daily Yoga Practice.”

  1. Jill Barth Jill Barth says:

    Home practice is so important. Keep your mat in sight! Thanks for this.

  2. Great advice. Love the writing. Love the humor.

    Plus you mentioned my very favorite rock album. (See The Greatest Rock Album of All Time.)

    Bob W.
    ElephantJournal.com

  3. [...] it will get done because you’ll move everything else around in order to make it happen. Then there’s always room for yoga. Because with no expectations (see number one!) we know that ten minutes on the mat is oh-so worth [...]

  4. Thanks for every other fantastic post. Where else may just anybody get that type of info in such a perfect manner of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the search for such info.

  5. @smoothwoven says:

    Hey, Timely article for me, Thank you! Practicing regularly is certainly not an issue for me, but practicing -daily- has been a multi-year struggle and I am still not there yet.

    I just wanted to point out one thing about daily ashtanga…

    I had a really great ashtanga instructor who was very adamant about daily practise, but THANKFULLY not about hardcore daily practise. he always said that ten minutes of yoga daily is better than his 75 minute class twice per week…because kicking your own ass to make up for lost time is kindof like binge eating: it achieves immediate satisfaction but your body will need a couple days to recover…

    If a full ashtanga class is leaving you wobbly, you are probably pushing too hard! Don't be afraid to sit out the end of class if you are getting tired..work UP to that level of regular activity. Eventually it will be easy to do a full class everyday but you have to expect it to take a few months.

    Anyway that is my two cents.

  6. Cyndi says:

    After 3 years of going to a studio practice weekly with some random practice in between, my husband and I finally figured out how to make a daily 30 minute a day home practice work. And YES, we still have aches and pains, but we also see the many rewards.

  7. Cyndi says:

    PS. We have been doing a daily home practice for a year now.

  8. mira madjid says:

    I am a mother of 10 months old baby and also a part time dentist. I am very busy with sporadic schedule. The last 2 months I’m trying to commit on a daily yoga practice. I agree with you on not force ourselves everyday with powerful practice. I try to practice ashtanga everyday, but the full series will be take at least 1.5 hours of my time. Sometime in the middle of my practice the baby is crying and need to nurse. With my busy schedule, the best I can do is 3x a week full series practice. The rest of the week I only practice pranayama, surya namaskar A and B and ended by finishing sequence (it takes around 30-45 minutes to do it).

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