The thought of starting a new activity and trying to fit a daily practice into your life can be overwhelming. Yoga is no different.
However, to truly reap the benefits of yoga, you need to be disciplined and regular with your practice. How to achieve this? Well, keep reading as we have created an easy, step-by-step guide to starting a daily yoga practice.
Let’s find out what it entails.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting a Daily Yoga Practice
1) Set a time for your yoga practice.
One of the best ways to be consistent is to schedule time for your daily yoga practice. If possible, make it the same time every day. Consistent timing is key as it allows you to transform this new activity into a routine.
Make sure to choose some time of the day that fits well with your responsibilities. For instance, if you’re not a morning person and can’t stand the thought of doing any type of activity that early in the day, chances are you won’t be able to stick to a morning yoga schedule. If this is you, pick an afternoon time slot instead.
Set the alarm to remind you if you think that will help you stay on track or leave post-it notes around the house.
If you want to be part of a yoga group, choose somewhere near your home so you don’t feel like you need to “travel” to reach your yoga location. When you’re tired and feel off, the distance will discourse you.
2) Choose an appropriate yoga level.
Engaging in an advanced yoga session or doing a complicated pose may look tempting, but it will only do you a disservice. What’s more, you can get hurt and spend more time healing from a bad yoga session than actually doing yoga. On top of that, falling or injuring yourself could make you develop an aversion to yoga.
This may also discourage you from starting a daily yoga practice altogether. You’ll be frustrated and disappointed, connecting yoga to an unpleasant experience.
If you aren’t sure how to choose a level that resonates with you, consult someone, watch YouTube tutorials, and try an introductory yoga session, then make decisions from there.
Some people consider private classes a great start, where yoga instructions can provide them with a much more personalized approach. But, of course, this is a much pricier option than joining a group or doing yoga at home, and not everyone can afford it.
In addition to the correct level, ensure the yoga sessions you commit to are the right length for your current availability. Do not overestimate yourself; we’re trying to run a marathon here, not a sprint. You need to aim for sustainability — starting with a one-and-a-half or two-hour class is not wise.
Also, if you feel out of shape, don’t start with an entire yoga session immediately. Allow yourself time to get used to it, and then slowly increase the insanity and the length of your yoga sessions. Being sore will prevent you from getting on the mat again tomorrow.
3) Find a yoga buddy.
A yoga buddy can be someone who goes to yoga in your yoga school at the same time as you.
Alternatively, if you practice from home, invite a friend, a colleague, a family member, or an acquaintance you know who’d be willing to join you in your yoga endeavors.
Of course, you don’t need to do yoga together all the time — it’s enough to know you started together and will support each other.
Finding a yoga buddy is an optional step, though. It can be helpful and a fantastic asset, but you can absolutely achieve your yoga goals alone.
Just go with what resonates with you.
Alternatively, you can join online yoga groups where people motivate each other, provide support, talk about their daily yoga practice, and so on. Some amazing yoga communities online are a great source of inspiration and motivation.
4) Be creative.
With your practice.
Your perception of yoga.
Remember — yoga isn’t just physical.
And the non-physical aspects can be practiced daily almost everywhere. You just need to tune into yourself.
Take three to five deep breaths while waiting for your Starbucks coffee, sit in the grass while walking in the park, and allow yourself to feel grounded. Enter a light meditation on the bus while returning from work. Close your eyes while sitting on the bench before your building and listen to the birds chirping. Feel the wind on your face, and notice your feelings.
Yoga can be all around you — if only you know how to perceive it.
But do not use that flexibility to make excuses not to commit to at least a 20-minute session on the mat.
5) Be gentle with yourself.
Even if you:
- can’t seem to do any of the complex poses right now;
- don’t breathe properly for the first days or even weeks;
- can’t get used to using yoga straps;
- let your mind wander;
- experience mild pain and want to give up;
- feel lazy to get up and do the daily yoga session you scheduled yesterday.
Don’t be harsh on yourself. Instead, be gentle and learn to be patient.
Such things may happen if you’re in too deep, you struggle to keep up with the schedule you made, or you could simply be having an off day. Sometimes there won’t be any explanation for why you feel the way you do that day.
Tell yourself that being patient with yourself (and with your yoga practice) is what matters whenever this occurs.
Remember why you started and what your expectations and outcomes are, and it’d be easier to get back on track with everything.
This brings us to the next point.
6) Be consistent.
You must be consistent if you genuinely want to see results and create an effective daily yoga practice. Maintaining consistency is only possible if yoga becomes an inseparable part of your everyday lifestyle.
It shouldn’t be a bothersome task you need to tick off your to-do list. On the contrary, you’re meant to look forward to it.
With that said, don’t beat yourself up if you skip a day or aren’t really in the mood for a yoga session. We all have days when we feel off, or we have so much to do, and there’s just so much time in a single day!
Instead of becoming frustrated with yourself, simply schedule a yoga session for the next day.
Remember — you aren’t striving for perfection (there’s no such thing when it comes to yoga, anyway). You’re aiming for consistency. And you can still be on the right track and consistent even if you skip a day (or two).
7) Reflect on your daily yoga practice.
This advice may not require you to do any complex yoga poses or pay attention to your breath, but it has its purpose.
Namely, reflecting on your yoga practice will help you reevaluate where you stand with your routine, how you can move forward, and what changes you can make in the upcoming days, weeks, or months (depending on how you progress with your yoga-related activities).
Moreover, it’s meant to motivate you to continue making yoga-related plans and incorporate them into your daily life.
There are many ways in which you can do this reflection, but here are some questions to get you started:
- Which challenges have you faced through this yoga practice so far?
- Which benefits have you felt by practicing yoga daily?
- Which fears have you overcome by doing yoga?
- What pose do you struggle to do correctly? Why is it problematic? What can you do to make it better next time?
- What yoga pose do you enjoy doing the most? Why?
- What yoga pose do you dislike? Why?
- What yoga equipment and accessories would you like to try next? Are there some you may have tried but realized you don’t quite resonate with them? If yes, which ones?
- What changes have you noticed since starting your daily yoga practice?
Additionally, don’t skip savasana (corpse pose) — it’s there for a reason, mainly for reflection.
In the beginning, it might be hard to concentrate, but with time, you’ll see that this introspective activity in yoga is one of the most rewarding and intimate experiences. Find a Youtube video for a guided savasana at the start, as it’ll help you concentrate.
8) Have fun and enjoy!
Finally, yoga is meant to be enjoyed.
If you’re constantly concerned about whether you’re making a specific pose in the right way, keeping up with the rest of the group (if you’re practicing with other people), making enough progress, or if your daily practice is effective at all, you won’t get to enjoy any of it.
And yoga is meant to be fully experienced and embraced, regardless of whether we sometimes approach it in a chaotic way or a much calmer one.
Yoga has the power to accept us and welcome us just the way we are.
All in all, starting a daily yoga practice may sound intimidating at first. However, millions of people worldwide do it all the time, so there’s no reason why you can’t be part of that awesome yoga community.
Don’t let yoga practitioners, news articles, videos, yoga studios, or complex poses intimidate you.
Yoga truly is for everyone who wishes to engage in it.