Ever wondered... How to Practice Yoga at Home? or How to get Motivated to Practice Yoga at Home?
If it's true that we are a sum of all our habits, and your goal is to lead an overall healthier and happier lifestyle (and you already know that yoga is something that makes you feel better, more balanced and just generally helps you to be an all round nicer person to be with - then read on!
You might be wondering how to get from the place of initial motivation - the immediate sense of excitement and wanting to apply effort and turn that interest in the shiny new thing into a long lasting habit.
You know what I'm talking about right?
All those times when you've seen something you MUST have or MUST start, and whipped out your credit card, only to disengage a few days later.
Never to finish that book, never to have completed 'that challenge' and worst of all - to have never seen the results that you could have ultimately achieved. Have you ever looked around and been envious of the results and improvement that others have made while you seem 'stuck'?
Don't feel bad about it - it's common for us to feel this way - and there are definitely some strategies you can adopt to help build the habit.
You see - habit takes us beyond motivation.
And the fact is that we can’t always rely on motivation.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
― Jim Ryun
Can you relate to this?
You decide that you're going to take up running. You buy new shoes, you download a running up, you get all excited about the results that you can see other people achieving and you even schedule your running sessions in your diary. You're going so well for the four or five days of your self-imposed running challenge and then it buckets down with rain.
Suddenly you've lost motivation - the voices creep in and then when you go on your run the next day you kind of feel like, "Well I didn't go yesterday I don't really feel like going today either". Before you know it - it feels like you've got to start all over again.
Adopting a new habit is hard and we can't always rely on motivation or memory in order to stick a new habit.
If ever you've tried to adopt the habit of practicing yoga at home no doubt you'll have probably met with some road blocks - I know I have.
So how do we turn something that you want to do into something that you habitually do. Well we have our own little tips, but let's start with a strategy that the experts recommend.... applying the Three Rs.
Obviously a reminder is like the cue or trigger. It's the thing that happens that triggers you to partake or adopt in the new habitual action. You can set an alarm on your phone (although with the flood of mobile notifications that most people receive these days - it can be easy to miss - so make sure you use a unique ring tone if you use this approach.)
Another technique that works well is to pair something that you already do regularly and habitually. Pair that action the new action. For example, if your goal is to start practicing yoga each and every morning and the first thing that you already habitually do when you get out of bed is make a cup of tea. Then one suggestion would be set your alarm that little bit early (enough time to allow for the yoga practice) then leave a little sticky note next to the jug that says something like “do yoga - you’ll feel better afterwards” .
So you’re pairing your reminder WITH an action that is already habitual. Over time, when you get up to make your cup of tea - that becomes the trigger for rolling out your yoga mat (and what a perfect way to start the day!).
Let’s say that your goal is to start to regularly floss your teeth then the cue or trigger that you may use is the actual brushing of your teeth. That's something that you already habitually do morning and night. So all you would do is maybe take the floss and place it next to (or tape it to) the handle of your toothbrush.
We’re taking a cue or trigger and pairing it with something that you already habitually do or already habitually happens to you.
So once you have a reminder or trigger - what will your ‘routine’ be?
With a yoga practice we can think of the Rountine in two ways.
Firstly there is the routine of actually getting started - so what are the steps you take when your practice? For me it usually involves getting dressed, clearing any clutter from the room and then rolling out my mat. From there I just get on my mat and do whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I play music and somethimes I am just guided by my breath.
For those newer to home practice here are some things I recommend to enhance your home practice routine:
CREATE A PLAYLIST:
Eventually the first track becomes part of your routine and helps to get you grounded.
START OR FINISH WITH PRANAYAMA:
If you like pranayama (totally recommended), then your practice routine might start with a 5min set sequence of breathing techniques that you don’t have to think too much about. Keep it consistent to help create the routine.
USE A SET SEQUENCE:
If you are new to home practice sometimes find yourself getting on your mat without a clue what to do then having a set sequence can be helpful. Just keep in mind if you are always only practicing a set sequence it can contribute to overuse injuries, so a set sequence is best practiced in conjunction with other sequences for ultimate balance.
SHORT TIME FRAME:
No one needs the mental barrier of thinking that every home practice needs to last 90mins. So in order to really help set your routine - pick a time frame that doesn’t feel overwhelming. 15-25min works well for those new to practicing yoga at home.
The third R stands for reward. So in this case you're connecting with the benefit. Now the benefit could come from the action itself. For example you might like to focus on the fact that when you do a yoga practice you feel more at ease. You feel more calm, you yell less at your loved ones for example, your children when they're having a tantrum. You don't get as snappy with your partner when they're doing something that's kind of annoying you. In this case you're thinking of the benefits that you'll get from taking the action.
The other option is choose is an external reward, so for example if I do this action five times in a row, Monday to Friday, then I will actually give myself a particular reward.
If I do yoga every day for thirty days I will get a new pair yoga pants or I will take myself to a movie. So these are both ways that you can incorporate a reward into adopting your new habit. It's good to remember that sometimes we are motivated intrinsically. That is by internal feelings and thoughts and sometimes we're motivated by external things or circumstances such as physical rewards.
There you have it - our top tips on how to turn Motivation into Home Practice Habits.
Want to start a home practice but not sure how to start, or worried that you'll lose motivation along the way? Join us for our next Press Pause Challenge - 5 Easy Practices for Better Sleep, Focus & Flexibility! Starting September 1st. Be sure to sign up to our mailing list below so we can let you know when registrations open.