How To Start A Yoga Routine
Posted On April 26, 2020
Starting a new routine of any sort is really exciting. Starting a new yoga routine is a treat to your mind and your body.
And you are worth putting the effort in to make yoga a regular part of your routine.
In this post I’ll walk through how to make the process of starting a new yoga routine as manageable and enjoyable as possible.
1. Remember your ‘why’
What is your motivation for making yoga a regular part of your day, or week?
Do you want to feel more calm and peace throughout the week, do you want to strengthen your body physically or do you just want something to put your mind to?
Whatever your motivation for starting you new routine might be, it’s important to remember this through the process of making a new yoga practice a routine.
To get started, it can be helpful to set some intentions for what you’d like to get out of your new practice. This might be something like ‘I want to feel more relaxed’ or ‘I want to get fitter and lose a bit of weight’. Make sure it really encompasses why you decided to put this routine into place.
Having this physically written down somewhere will help you when you don’t feel like doing your yoga routine. You might not feel like doing any poses or breath work that day, but your intention will help you to see your bigger picture.
Seeing the bigger picture will get that motivation back and help you get going with your yoga practice even when you don’t really feel like it.
If you are starting yoga for the first time, you may find it more challenging to keep going with the new routine. This is because learning a new skill is challenging in itself – you might feel that the practice feels clumsy, or that you’re just not getting it.
These mental barriers can be difficult to overcome and can make it even more tempting to lose momentum when you’re trying to get going with making yoga a part of your routine.
But again, bring it back to your WHY. And don’t be hard on yourself – everyone who is now good at something once started from scratch themselves. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect straight away because you won’t be and that’s okay.
2. Anchor it to certain parts of the day
Ideally you’ll want your new yoga routine to be automatic and a habit ingrained into your daily or weekly routine. This won’t happen at first – you’ll need some self discipline for this to happen.
However, when it does happen, it will feel easier to do yoga than to NOT do yoga – this is what we want. The research on how long exactly it takes to form a habit is varied but a commonly agreed on figure is 66 days.
So how can you keep up the habit for 66 days when some days you just don’t feel like doing it, or might even forget?
One thing that can help is to anchor the yoga practice onto a certain time of the day. For example, you could try waking up and making yoga the first thing you do.
Personally, this is how I got started. I wanted to start yoga because I was working a stressful job and needed something to calm my mind before I left my flat for work. Every day I would wake up and just unroll my yoga mat and just did what I could that day. It wasn’t complicated, it wasn’t advanced, but I just made sure it happened.
What we do know from research is that we usually need a cue for us to remember about the habit. What can you make your cue? It might be your first glass of water when you wake up, or it might be your cup of tea in the evening before bed.
3. Make sure it’s enjoyable!
This is something I and I’m sure many others have had to learn the hard way.
If you’re starting something new and it feels either too out of reach or you just really don’t enjoy it, then it’s going to be hard to keep it up.
Even if you do enjoy it, there will be days that you don’t feel like doing it, but at least if you enjoy it you’ll know that you’ll most likely get something out of it.
It’s so important that you don’t set your sights too high too quickly. It’s great to have big goals but it’s also great to start small and make something a solid and regular part of your routine before making it feel like a big challenge.
With yoga there are a few ways you could do this. How you do this will depend on your goals. For someone wanting to practice yoga each day, your starting goal could simply be to unroll your yoga mat and do anything on it for at least 5 minutes. This could be simply sitting on your yoga mat and doing some deep breaths, or it might be doing a few simple poses for 5 minutes.
Imagine waking up to this as your starting goal compared to having a ’45 minute yoga routine every day’ as your starting goal. In which scenario are you more likely to do it?
4. Reward yourself
Finally, it’s time to reward yourself. It’s time to start speaking kinder to yourself and showing yourself more self-love. Yoga and self-love go hand in hand so practicing yoga may be reward enough.
But if you have found the process difficult but you’ve kept up with it even on the days when you didn’t want to, then it’s especially important that you give yourself a treat or reward for sticking to it.
This could be your favourite takeaway, a movie night or a self-care pamper night. Whatever it is, make sure you celebrate your new routine and shower yourself in love and praise for taking proactive steps to becoming a better you.
Let me know in the comments how it goes!