One of my goals at the beginning of 2020 was to begin practising yoga. Like any novice, I turned to Yoga With Adriene to guide me on this journey.
Unfortunately, I can’t claim that yoga was an instant love or passion of mine. I enjoyed it significantly more than any other exercise I had engaged in, but unfortunately, it felt like a chore I had to get out the way before my day could get started.
It wasn’t until I changed my mindset, off and on, the mat that I noticed a change in my relationship with yoga and saw it seeping into my everyday routines.
Don’t put pressure on yourself
Putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to get on the mat and engage in practice is what’s going to make you resent it. Yoga is a stress-free exercise; it should be something you turn to when you feel you need it, or it will benefit you. By making it a pressurised experience, you’re either going to resent it or give up.
Notice how it makes you feel and connect with your emotions
One of the key things that changed my relationship with yoga was noticing how I was feeling. Once yoga stopped feeling like a chore I begrudged doing, I had more time to focus on what I was gaining. I’ll rarely finish a practise feeling as demotivated as I was before I began. The knowledge that I’ll ultimately feel better and be out of whatever lethargic slump I’m slipping into is one of the most significant pressure-free incentives to get me to engage in some form of practise and body movement.
Take what you need/want and use it as an incentive
Yoga has numerous benefits for the body and the mind. By practising regularly, you can transform your life, your mind, and your body. Knowing what you want from your daily practise, and staying focused on this is a great incentive. Your time on the mat should be selfish; take what you need or want for your body and your life and don’t stop until you’ve achieved it. Whether you want to enhance your breathing techniques to help you in times of stress and anxiety, be more mindful and appreciative of everyday life, or if you want to build strength and muscle tone to feel stronger and more confident. Discover why you want to do yoga at your core and focus on this every time you engage in your practice.
Carve out the time
If you’re serious about doing yoga as part of your daily routine, you have to be serious about making the time for it. Carve out the time in your day when you think you’ll most benefit from your practice. If you’re doing yoga for relaxation and calming reasons, you could cut your television time down in the evenings and replace it with a slow-moving, mindful practise. If you want yoga to give you more energy and get your heart rate up, try doing a fast-paced class in the morning before you start your day. If your schedule is jam-packed, slip yoga in where you can. There are great videos on Youtube for a ten-minute lunch break practice, or an energy-boosting quarter of an hour to get you feeling refreshed and energised. Make sure you’re making the time and not filling it with any other potential tasks.
Yoga is a brilliant method of self-care; it allows us to step away from the world and reconnect with our minds and bodies– something we rarely get this opportunity to do in our tech-filled modern world. Make sure you’re taking this time for you, giving your body what it needs, finding what feels good, and feeling proud you’ve simply carved out this time for yourself. This time might look and feel different every day or even in every pose, but by setting the intention to dedicate this period to caring for yourself, you’ve already achieved the biggest win.
By engaging in yoga daily, you will begin to see real, physical and mental changes in your life. These things can take time, and so don’t overthink or put pressure on yourself for an instant transformation. If you’re not feeling yoga one day, that’s fine, try again the next. Don’t force yourself into it, and your love and appreciation for the movement will come naturally and grow over time. Rolling that mat out and stepping on is the win, everything else is a bonus.
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