How to Establish a Regular Yoga Practice
You want to start finally doing Yoga regularly on your own but bringing yourself to it is much more challenging than you thought!
Sadhana is a Sanskrit word that means personal spiritual practice. It’s typically something you do every day, ideally around the same time.
This word can also refer to the routines and rituals that allow you to stay in balance, come home to yourself, and develop your potential.
Establishing my daily yoga practice was a long process for me. I used to struggle a lot with consistency, and structure. I guess I’m not alone in that!
The problem is that you often think “I can’t do it because I’m not consistent enough. I can’t bring myself to practice, I don’t have enough discipline and time…” and so on. The truth is, nobody is consistent or completely disciplined at the beginning!
Discipline, consistency and structure develop as you practice! And not only on the yoga mat but also in life.
In this blog, I would love to share with you how to establish a regular yoga practice. Why? Because it has hugely benefited my life and I am convinced it will also benefit your life.
How To Establish Your Personal Yoga Practice
- Be clear on your intention
Why do you want to practice? What would motivate you to come back to your mat every day? What goals do you want to achieve? The intention will give you motivation and faith especially on those days when you don’t feel like practicing.
- Create a space
A place that you love to come back to every day. It does not need to be an extra room, maybe a part of your living room or bedroom? Make it clean, beautiful, and inviting. Maybe burn incense, light a candle, or use essential oils. I love to smell essential oils at the beginning of my practice! This will be your sacred space.
It’s very helpful, if possible, to not have to roll out your mat every time. When the mat stays in place, it is more likely that you will convince yourself to practice even if you don’t feel like it. You can arrange some objects that will help create your special space and help your yoga practice at the same time, like cushions, bolsters, or blankets. It’s also great to have some free wall space for poses like a supported headstand or legs up the wall.
But even if you don’t have a possibility or enough space for creating a room for your daily yoga, that’s ok. I used to live for many years in very small spaces with few possibilities to make them particularly beautiful. Sometimes I would have only space by my bed to roll out my yoga mat. And that was fine!
3. Choose a time
Ideally, about the same time every day (early morning is the best or late afternoon). This will make it easier for the nervous system to relax and to develop a habit. Once your practice becomes a habit, it will require less energy to bring yourself to it and will save you time.
- Choose a practice
Your asanas (postures) do not need to be exactly the same every day. But following the same sequence over a period of time has great benefits! You learn through repetition. The depth of practice will develop over time. However, the main component of your practice, meditation, always stays the same for a period of time. It takes time to develop a positive habit and form new neural pathways. 30 days is the minimum length to stick with one chosen practice. Some Sadhanas take 40 days, some three to six months. I know people who’ve done the same kind of yoga practice for years and it brings great benefits to them.
- Make it simple!
Do not overcomplicate things. Do fewer poses, but with more awareness, precision, and longer holds. Simplicity invites calmness and stability. I love to design different versions of different lengths for my sadhana. I have a long version for mornings when I have more time, and a short version for mornings when I need to be more efficient.
6. Always finish your practice with a meditation
Meditation is where the real transformation happens, where you can rest in the observer, deepen your intuition and connect with your Higher Self.
Often this is the part that you want to avoid. Because it initially seems boring and the monkey mind is very scared of having no distractions and being on its own! Often you’re not convinced by the potential benefits until you try it and experience it for yourself. Meditation requires patience and discipline. Again, these qualities develop as you practice.
If you’re at the beginning of your yoga journey and struggle with meditation, don’t beat yourself up for this. Sitting in meditation is really not as easy as it sounds. Start with a simple meditation and sit for at least a few minutes each time. That is a great start!
- Stay realistic
Establishing your personal yoga practice does not happen in one day, it’s a process. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And stay realistic. Maybe 1 hour every day is too much, so commit to 15 or 30 minutes. Maybe every day seems like much and not realistic at the beginning – then commit to 15 or 30 minutes 3 or 4 times in a week. Or better, if you can, practice every day for 5 to 10 minutes. Daily rhythm helps to form a habit and allows the benefits to grow faster.
If you skip a day, that’s nothing to worry about. If you skip more than one day that’s not ideal, but every moment is an opportunity to start again!