If you’re struggling to stick to your practice, you’re not alone.
Motivation comes and goes.
As even the most experienced yogi has found, there are periods where you’ll wake up itching to get your flow on, day after day. But there are also periods where, due to a busy schedule, a preoccupied mind, pressing obligations or simply a bad night’s sleep, you’ll struggle to find the willpower to hit the mat.
Building a daily yoga routine certainly isn’t easy. It requires planning, time, patience, dedication, flexibility (not the bendy kind!), forgiveness, and much more.
But don’t worry. We’re here to provide you with the tools and knowledge to build a daily yoga routine that you’ll actually stick to.
In this article, we’re going to explore:
- 16 health benefits of a daily yoga routine
- How to build a daily yoga routine in 9 steps
Are you with me?
Great. Let’s get into it.
16 health benefits of a daily yoga routine
If you’re looking to build a daily yoga journey, it’s likely that you’re already aware that yoga will improve your life in some way or another. But do you know how exactly?
Yoga is extremely beneficial to our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.According to Healthline and backed by scientific study, the benefits of yoga include:
Now that you’re aware of the health benefits of yoga, see if you can pinpoint your reasons for building a daily yoga routine.
Are they fitness related? Are you looking to recover from injury or a health condition? Are you trying to improve your mental health? Are they spiritual?
How to Build a daily yoga routine in 9 steps
We’ve compiled a series of handy tips to show you how to build a daily yoga routine that you’ll actually be able to stick to.
1. Set achievable goals
One of the biggest pitfalls when trying to build a daily yoga routine is overcommitting.
As those with grand New Year resolutions know all too well, setting over-ambitious goals tends to lead to disappointment.
As James Clear says in The Paradox of Behaviour Change, ‘the best way to achieve a new level of equilibrium is not with radical change, but through small wins each day.’
Be realistic about what you think you can achieve and set your goals accordingly.
So instead of promising to practice for at least an hour every day, come rain or shine, start off small. Why not commit to practicing four times a week for 15 minutes, and celebrate when you smash your goal out of the park each week?
You’ll find that under-promising and over-delivering feels a lot better than over-promising and under-delivering, and you can always shift the goalposts and aim higher later on!
2. Challenge yourself to complete a certain number of days
Building your daily yoga routine with the vague intention of practicing every single day for the rest of your life can feel overwhelming.
Psychologists say that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so why not set yourself the challenge of practicing consistently for a certain number of days instead?
Plenty of online yoga instructors have a 30 day challenge series that you can take part in, such as Yoga with Adriene. This is a great place to start your journey and enjoy a sense of comradery, especially if you’re a beginner.
Treat the challenge like an experiment and see how you feel after it. Chances are you’ll already be feeling lots of the benefits mentioned earlier on in this article, which will motivate you to stick to your practice and set more challenges.
3. Schedule in your yoga
It’s called a daily yoga routine for a reason!
Setting aside a regular time in your day to practice yoga is key to ensuring that you actually do it, rather than just think about it. This also helps create a habit, as your body will become adjusted to the rhythm.
Lots of people find that the mornings are the best time to practice. Not only do you start your day with intention and a sense of achievement, but you’ll be the most zen (and smug) person in your office.
It also means that no matter how hectic the rest of your day is and how tired you feel after work, you’ve already carved out that all-important ‘me time’. This helps prevent self-sabotaging behaviours such as revenge bedtime procrastination.
However, not everyone is a morning person, especially if you’ve got a long commute to work or kids to get ready for school on time. There are also plenty of advantages to practicing in the evening, such as better sleep and helping digestion.
The bottom line is that the best time to practice is totally up to you. What’s important, however, is that you try to stick to it.
4. Have a backup plan
There are going to be days when you’re tired, busy or simply don’t want to practice.
It’s important in these moments to have a backup plan.
Your backup plan could include finding a short, restorative Yin Yoga flow online, doing a gentle flow that you know off by heart, stretching, or simply taking 10 minutes to sit and practice mindfulness.
This leads us nicely on to…
5. Be forgiving
Inevitably, there will be days where despite best intentions, even your back up plan can’t get you to the mat.
This can result in feelings of frustration, guilt and failure.
The most important thing to do is to not beat yourself up! Research shows that self-punishment leads to discouragement and decreased productivity – a self-perpetuating cycle of negativity.
If you miss a session, pick yourself up, dust yourself up, and strive to do better tomorrow.
6. Find yoga videos that inspire you
Having a selection of yoga videos at hand to guide and inspire you can improve both your motivation and your technique.
Do some research and find some online yoga tutorials that you enjoy and feel comfortable doing. This way, if you don’t have the time or energy to make it to the studio some days, you can still enjoy an awesome practice at home.
7. Try out different classes and styles
When it comes to yoga, there is no one-size-fits-all.
Whilst there are only 13 major types of yoga, there are hundreds of variations and niches that stem from these, most of which are readily available at the click of a button.
Like any sport, repeatedly trying the same type of yoga leaves you at risk of tedium, a term used in sports theory to describe athletes’ need for variety in their training, not only to prevent boredom but also to prevent overuse of certain muscle groups.
Reinspire your practice by exploring new teachers, new styles, new studios, new channels, new videos and more. Why not contrast a hot Bikram yoga session with a restorative class, or a Power yoga tutorial with a Kundalini yoga session?
Exploring new styles can keep your practice interesting and stimulating, as well as help you find what works for you.
8. Don’t compare yourself to others
Yoga is not a competition!
To quote Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Comparing yourself to others (including your yoga teacher) not only puts you at risk of injury through pushing yourself too hard, but it also goes against the core beliefs of yoga.
Toxic internal dialogue, whether directed at yourself or at other people in the room, distracts you from the real reasons that you’re practicing and is a sure way to leave your mat feeling negative and dissatisfied.
In turn, this will leave you less likely to want to practice in the future.
If you catch yourself in this spiral, try to ground yourself by focusing on your breath and remembering why you started your yoga journey in the first place. Your practice is about you and nobody else.
9. Make sure you’re fully equipped
If you’re going to make yoga a daily part of your life, it’s worth investing in the right gear to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
Make sure you use a yoga mat provides padding for your knees, wrists and elbows and prevents you from slipping over during some of the more challenging poses.
It’s also important to clean your mat every now and again to prevent the buildup of sweat, dust, germs and more.
Dressing in something comfortable and temperature-appropriate can also make all the difference! Practising yoga whilst too hot or too cold can prevent you from reaching a mindful headspace, so check out our article on What To Wear to Yoga Class.
To summarise , the ‘Just Do It’ mantra only stretches so far. To build a daily yoga routine that you’ll actually stick to, it takes time, resilience and conscious, mindful dedication.
We hope you enjoyed this article and have a clearer idea about how to build a daily yoga routine.
Remember to be kind to yourself – Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Are you ready to build your daily yoga routine but not quite sure where to begin?
Check out 9 Best Yoga Videos for Beginners to get you started.