A yoga habit for life is an awesome goal to have. But how do you make it a reality?
If you’re someone who goes through periods of doing yoga, or if you’re trying to reconnect with your practice. Or maybe you’re just starting out and you have a dream of being one of those yogis who effortlessly comes on to the mat… this article is for you.
In this article, we are going to explore how you can make connecting with your yoga practice a habit for good. We will dive into:
- Why you should make yoga a habit for life
- Why forming healthy habits is great
- And we will go through 10 top tips for forming a lasting yoga habit
Why you should make yoga A habit for life
Doing yoga regularly has the power to transform and enhance your life. Its benefits are numerous. Do it once every couple of weeks and it will feel like a good stretch and a moment of pause, but make yoga into a lifelong ritual and you’ll experience a whole host of benefits including (but not limited to!):
- Increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration, energy and vitality
- The maintenance of a balanced metabolism
- Cardio and circulatory health
- Improved athletic performance
- Protection from injury
- Improved concentration
- A greater appreciation for your own body
Sounds good? Then keep on reading!
why forming healthy habits is great
We are all creatures of habit, bad and good. Our lifestyle, our career success, and our happiness can all come as a result of our daily habits and rituals.
The thing is with habits is that they can be both hard to form and hard to break.
If you’re keen to learn more about forming and breaking habits for a better life, are some great books on the topic:
– Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
“How we schedule our days is how we spend our lives.”
– The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
– Atomic Habits by James Clear
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”
Research suggests that forming a habit takes at least 66 days to form. That’s a lot of days. So take heed of the following tips, they will come in handy for those initial 66 days!
how to form a yoga habit for life: 10 Tips
1. Be clear with your intention
Get real about your yoga habit.
Having a reason for your practice is where it all begins. It is the seed.
Why do you want to form a yoga habit? Are you looking to nurture your spirituality, get strong and flexible, or develop a healthier routine?
Whatever it is, your intention is something that you can use as an anchor. Write it down. Look back at it when you feel like throwing in the towel, and remind yourself of your why.
2. Start small – break it up into days, not months, not years
It’s hard to think in lifetimes, easier to think in months, weeks, or days. When building a yoga habit for life, it can be more useful and more productive to break your yogic commitment up into shorter-term goals.
How about setting yourself the challenge of practicing yoga every day for a month, or even every day for a week?
This also goes for the time you spend on the mat. If you commit to an hour a day, this may at times (and especially at the beginning) seem overwhelming. Instead, why not commit to a 15-minute daily practice.
That way, when those days come where you really don’t feel like it, you’ll be more likely to convince yourself to do a 15-minute practice over an hour-long flow.
3. Write your commitment down and share it
According to Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews et al at California’s Dominican University, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down!
Even more powerfully, studies have shown that if you tell a friend about your goal, the likelihood of you achieving it goes up by 78%!
So go ahead and put your intention out there and commit to that yoga habit for life!
4. Find an accountability partner
This one isn’t necessary, but having a friend as an accountability partner is great.
As an individual, you’re more likely to give in to your desires to not do what you said you’re going to do. But with a partner, hopefully, on those days where you feel like giving up, they’ll be able to inspire you to keep going, and vice versa.
Also, just having something in common with someone to share and talk about is lots of fun.
5. Find a yoga school that suits you
No accountability partner? Hit up your local yoga studio! What about trying Aerial Yoga? Or Gravity Yoga?
The incentive of a pre-paid price tag might be enough to convince some people to keep turning up to class to further their practice.
But if that’s not enough, quality teaching will do the trick. YouTube is good, but a real-life yoga teacher is definitely better. You’ll find yourself improving at a faster rate with real-time tips and corrections from the teacher. And progress is inspiring.
6. Value consistency over perfection
No one is perfect, so striving for perfection is a silly goal. You will inevitably slip off the bandwagon for a few days, maybe even for a week. But consistency builds yoga habits.
Try not to beat yourself up if you miss one practice, or even if you miss 10 practices. Consistency is about bouncing back instead of throwing in the towel.
Equally, there’s no way will be able to hold every advanced yoga pose ‘perfectly’ straight off the bat. But with consistency, future you will be holding beautiful Asanas. It’s all about patience and consistency.
7. Commit to being a student of yoga
There is no better way to draw yourself into the practice than to commit yourself to studying it. Yoga is much more than a series of Asanas (or poses). It is an entire philosophy, a way of being.
Learning about the philosophy of yoga is not only interesting, but it could inspire you to practice more.
Here’s a head start on yogic philosophy: The 8 Limbs Of Yoga: Essential Guide To The Philosophy Of Yoga
8. Take your practice with you
Going on a trip? Bring a mat!
Not able to make a yoga class in a studio? Have a backup youtube playlist of your favourite yoga videos that you’ll be able to fall back on.
It’s all about minimising excuses for yourself. The better you prepare for yoga to fit around your life, the higher the likelihood that it will fit into your life. For life.
9. Learn to go with the flow
The more you practice yoga, the less you will need the structure of a rigid routine. Nurture your ability to listen to your body. Take a minute to tune in to how you feel each day and adjust your yoga practice to suit you.
Some days an energetic Ashtanga flow just won’t sit right, your body might be craving a slower, gentler practice such as a Restorative sequence.
Remember, your yoga habit should serve you in order for you to make it a practice for life. Forcing yourself into a routine that does not suit you is a surefire way to make it unsustainable. Tune into yourself.
10. Reward yourself after every practice
Rewards are a fantastic and often necessary way of solidifying a habit. They close the ‘habit loop’ and have you associating the practice with positivity.
What you choose to reward yourself with post-yoga practice is completely personal. Maybe it’s your favourite snack or a takeaway coffee. Whatever it is, make sure that it nourishes your soul. You’ve earned it after all!
Rewarding yourself for your yoga habit can help you to form a yoga ritual. Once a ritual is established, it will become second nature- like walking up and brushing your teeth in the morning.
Ready to commit to a yoga habit for life?
Why not get inspired by some inspiring online yoga teachers? Try out their yoga flows on YouTube and build a bank of awesome videos for you to delve into on a rainy day.
Are you a complete beginner? Check out these 9 Best Yoga Videos For Beginners:
Or are you just after the best of the best: How about taking a look at these beautiful yoga flows and sequences by the Best Yoga Youtube Channels out there: