Yoga has changed my life. But not in the way you might think.
I don’t practice yoga for weight loss (well, sometimes for bloating). I don’t practice it for self-care either (although it is certainly helpful). Basically, I don’t practice yoga in the way most people think you HAVE to practice it.
Because get this: Yoga is a WHOLE LIFE practice.
In Sanskrit, the word yoga means “to yoke or join together.” When we step on the mat we are joining together the physical, mental, and spiritual world within us. We embark on a path to creating balance and uniting opposites.
By practicing yoga, I’ve been able to quiet my hectic mind (which years of therapy failed to do) and marry together my need for adventure with my craving for calm. The physical benefits I’ve experience are just an added cherry on top.
Before yoga, I was a loose cannon. I grew up in a hectic household and I struggled a lot with my identity. At one point, I weighed 101 lbs (I’m 5’5″) abused alcohol and pain medication, and engaged in unhealthy sexual relationships. Now, after nearly 8 years, I’m a healthy 130lbs, clean from all my previous vices, and happily married with two beautiful children. Yoga as a whole
body life practice quite literally saved my life.
Seriously, yoga is my secret weapon to feeling confident and succeeding in life, and now I want to make it YOURS too.
Today, I’m going to share three essential strategies to overcome any negative energy or obstacles you may be facing and get you back on your mat.
And by the way, YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.
1: Stop Comparing Yourself
Comparison is a liar and a thief and you have no room for either in your life.
When you initially get the nudge to start practicing yoga, what’s the FIRST thing that pops into your mind? Is it your flexibility level? Your time constraints? Fear of failure? Whatever it may be, STOP YOURSELF RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.
One of the biggest setbacks people face when creating any sort of habit is self sabotage. And it often takes the form of comparison. Ultimately you are comparing yourself to what you’ve read or seen someone else do in regards to yoga, but this is your journey, so embrace it. No one else will care what your practice looks like, because they are busy figuring their own out.
2: Practice the Moment You Feel You Should (or at least commit to a time to practice)
If the notion comes into your mind to practice yoga and there is nothing more pressing to do in that moment (work meeting, tending to children, appointments, etc.) THEN DO IT. Even if it is just five minutes focusing on breath in your office chair or while sitting on the couch just before the baby wakes up from a nap.
The hardest thing to do in life is to JUST START. If you are still not convinced that this is something you can do, here’s how to carve out time to make yoga happen:
- Create a home or office space: this can be anywhere you feel comfortable and have room to move.
- Schedule time with yourself: pull out your calendar, set an alarm, whatever helps alert you that it is time to practice. The key here is consistency (which I’ll talk more about in a sec.).
- Choose how you’ll practice: There are tons of YouTube videos, books, and classes available for all levels. Pick the one that speaks to you most and go with it. Or just move your body in a way that feels good based on your previous knowledge/experience.
- JUST DO IT: when you feel that ball form in your throat, or you start to make excuses as to why you “can’t” practice – hold yourself accountable. Imagine what you would say if it were a friend trying to get out of practice instead? Would you help talk them out of it? Or ease their fears and help them commit? Hopefully you’d do the latter.
3: Be Consistent and Reward Yourself
It can take anywhere from 20 days to 66 days to form a positive habit. So commit to AT MINIMUM 21 days to building your yoga practice.
I’m not talking a crazy 1 hour power vinyasa flow every day. Not at all. It may be as simple as you roll out your mat, sit for a few minutes, do some light stretches maybe, and then call it a day. If after a few days you find you want to challenge yourself more, do that. Alternatively, it’s OK to keep it super light and gentle too. The point here is to be consistent.
Also, reward yourself with something you enjoy doing naturally everyday.
Let’s say you have an affinity for coffee. Tell yourself, “after I spend time on my mat I will seal in my practice by enjoying a nice cup of coffee.” Or a shower, or reading, whatever is easy to indulge in that you already naturally do everyday. By doing this, yoga will become an extension of that already established habit, and thus, a natural reoccurring part of your day.
If you implement these three strategies to get back on your mat or start a new yoga practice, you will be well on your way to “yoking together” your WHOLE life. I promise.
And if I haven’t drilled it into your head enough yet, YOU CAN DO THIS if you really want to…
Now, tell me in the comments below – what is ONE thing you’re going to do today to “get back on the mat”?