The new year has arrived, a wonderful time of year that provides us with an opportunity for change and growth. In this spirit many people chose to make resolutions for the new year ahead. A resolution I hear often is to begin a regular yoga practice. This is an excellent goal with many rewards, but where do you begin to make such a practice successful? Here are a few suggestions to help you help you succeed.
- Set realistic goals. Be honest with yourself about how much time you have to dedicate to your practice, where you are at with your practice now, and what your goals are for a regular practice. Having realistic expectations will help make a regular practice sustainable and enjoyable.
- Make the time. Few of us have extra time or schedules that never change. Try to find a time that you are likely to be able to and will want to practice. For instance, if you are not a morning person is it reasonable to believe you will get up an hour earlier every morning for your practice?
- Be flexible. If you typically practice in the morning and you miss your practice, can you find another time to work in your practice that day? If you don’t have 60 minutes, can you find 10? If you’re not feeling up to a full practice can you do some sun salutations or maybe just rest in savasana? Being adaptable will keep your practice on track.
- Everything in moderation. When you begin your practice start out slowly. If you practice for 90 minutes and are sore the next day it will be hard to motivate yourself to keep practicing. As active as you are, remember that you also need rest. Some days you will be too sick to practice or something will intervene, and that is okay; the best part of a regular practice is that it will be there for you to return to.
- Keep it fun! Routines can become pretty, well, routine. To help keep yourself motivated be sure to change up your practice by trying new poses, practicing to a new playlist, practicing along with a new video by your favorite teacher, or treating yourself to a new mat or yoga pants. Rejoice in all your successes, not matter how small, and do not be derailed by set backs. Most of all, always remember it was love of yoga that created your desire for a regular practice and never lose that joy.