Have you ever wanted to keep up a yoga practice at home but found it nearly impossible to keep up? Are you unsure how to make it a daily practice between classes?
Many years ago I wanted a daily practice but was clueless as to where to start.
Eventually, I found myself at what was essentially, “yoga camp” for adults. I spent a summer on a sprawling campus in the mountains of Western Massachusetts with 50 other yogis and kept the kind of self-care schedule most of us only dream of (I still dream of it, actually).
Every morning I attended an early yoga class that helped me ease into the rest of my day with grace and intentionality. By late afternoon, I was primed for another session, either a vigorous vinyasa class to amp up my energy, or a gentle practice to help calm down from a stressful day.
Needless to say, it was quite easy to keep up with my personal practice. I had expert teachers available to me twice, sometimes three times a day, and a community of people supporting me to keep going.
But when I got home that all changed. I no longer had the time to spend all day in class, nor the like-minded group of friends to hold me accountable.
My yoga practice began to suffer. A late night out meant I skipped practice in the morning. A busy day meant I was too tired by the end of the night to visit my mat. I started feeling worse and worse about not keeping up a daily routine and the longer I went without practicing the harder it was to start over. Sound familiar?
Eventually, I found the way out of the cycle and back to a regular practice. Through trial and error, I found that these five techniques listed below worked best. Read through and see if you think so too!
- Find a yoga video you love. When I first asked myself why it was so hard to practice on my own I realized that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I simply ran out of poses I knew how to do. Having a video to guide me through a practice made it easy to keep going – I didn’t have to think of a sequence, I could just show up and practice!
- Create a habit. Habits are born from repetition. When I would sometimes practice in the morning and sometimes at night it was easy to forget to get on the mat. But I never forget when to brush my teeth because I’ve engrained the action as a daily habit. Maybe you brush right after you wash your face or just before you leave the house. See if you can do the same thing for your yoga practice.
- Document the benefits. There are always a million things I would love to do with my time and practicing yoga is just one of them. Sometimes I’m eager to read, knit, call a friend, or just veg out with Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show. But when I can easily bring to mind all the benefits of a yoga practice beyond the physical like increased ability to focus and be creative, it’s easier to choose to practice. Jimmy can wait
- Dedicate a space. I keep my mat right by my bed where I have enough space to stretch out. I know I can practice there every day so I make en effort to keep that space clear. By having a dedicated space I won’t have to spend 15 minutes in the morning clearing clutter before I can get on the mat. I intentionally face the window to look out at the sky and trees and keep a candle nearby so that I can include something beautiful for all of my senses. It incredibly enjoyable to practice in my home when the space is always well prepared for me!
- Use an accountability tool. The number one thing that has helped me institute a daily practice is Instagram. I created a hashtag and now post a photo every day to document that I showed up for practice. Knowing that others will be following along makes it harder to spend my practice time sleeping in.
Are you ready to commit to an at-home practice? Which tool do you think will help you most? If you already practice daily what helped you create the habit? Share in the comments below so others can benefit from your practice too!
And let us know if you create a hashtag too–I’d love to follow along on your yoga-at-home journey!
Photo by Natanya Bittman