8 Easy Steps to Start and Sustain a Yoga Practice.
Have you noticed how more and more people are turning into yoga every day? Whether they are looking to loose weight or to release stress, yoga is becoming more and more popular across the Globe. You see celebrities, professional sport athletes even doctors endorsing the benefits this practice can bring to your life. No wonder why everyone is giving it a try.
Many people are asking questions like “Why is everyone practicing yoga?” “Why now?” After all, yoga has been around for at least 5000 years. Even though this is true, it is now more than ever that we need yoga the most. These days, we seem to live our lives with more stress, more things to do, more things to accomplish. Yoga is giving us an opportunity to find ways to release stress, relax and live more meaningful lives.
I personally believe that the key to practicing yoga is consistency. It does not matter what type of yoga you practice, if you practice at home, in a studio or gym. It does not matter what type of mat you have and if you wear super cool yoga clothes. What really matters is that you practice consistently.
Here are 8 easy steps you can take to start and establish a yoga practice for years to come:
– Be realistic with your expectations: Start where you are today. The beautiful thing about yoga is that it is for everyone regardless of age, gender, body type, etc. Do your homework and see what classes or videos are best for you. What type of experience and trainings your teachers have, etc. The best informed you are the better your choice will be. But remember that it does not matter if you were an athlete when you were 18 years old, if you never practice yoga before, start with a beginner class. You can always take other classes if you feel you can do more.
– Be kind to yourself and listen to your body. Your body knows what it can do. Yoga is not a competitive sport where you need to push toward the end to win. If you push your body too hard, you probably will stop liking yoga or worse, you may hurt yourself and stop your practice all together.
– Add it to your schedule. See how many times you can honestly commit to yourself and to your practice. Many people want to jump head first and do as many classes in the first few weeks. They think that in this way they can achieve all the benefits people talk about as quickly as possible. The truth is that you will see benefits even if you can only commit to a yoga practice twice per week. This will help you continue a steady practice for months and even years rather that start strong for 2 weeks and then stop completely.
– Create a sacred space for your practice. If you are starting a home Yoga Practice, find a space just for you. It does not matter if is just a small area big enough for your mat or an entire room. Create a place where you feel special, where you can connect with your breath and your practice. Maybe light incense or have some flowers. Create your own sanctuary. If you are planning on going to a studio or gym, then create your sacred space within you…..in your mat… You don’t have to be fancy just willing.
– Practice at the same time everyday to establish a routine. Once you begin to see the difference your yoga practice starts to make in your life, you will be looking for more ways to make this practice a part of your daily routine. Once your practice becomes fully established in your routine you don’t have to think twice about it. You just do it like when you brush your teeth, you do it because it makes you feel good.
– Go for quality rather than quantity. Let go of time. It does not matter if you practice for 2 hours or for 20 minutes. What matters is the quality of your practice along with the consistency of it. You don’t have to practice daily for 2 hours (unless you want to and have the time) to get many of the benefits yoga has to offer. You may find that for you a simple 20-minute practice gives you all you need.
– Have Fun and enjoy your “me” time! During this time nothing else matters but you, your breath and your practice. Make it fun. Play some cool music that inspires you, turn off your phone, play around and don’t get caught up on how you think you should look like. Just move your body and concentrate on what you are feeling.
– Don’t give up. Life happens and sometimes our yoga practice falls between the cracks. If you fall off the wagon, start again. Remember that every step you take towards your well-being is never wasted.
Give it a try. You may be surprised by the results.
If you have any additional suggestions, I would love to hear all about them. Feel free to leave a comment or two.
Love and Peace,