“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”– Aldous Huxley
We all start our yoga/meditation practice with the best of intentions. People come to practice for many reasons. It could be practical, physical, emotional or spiritual. We buy all the gear and jump in with full intentions and a burning desire to making it a new healthy habit.
It might go well for a while, we start feeling better and low and behold we let life take over again and it gets dropped like a hot spud. It pops back into our head for a while and then like a friend we forget to text back we feel like it’s been too long and we will be judged by the teacher if we go back and give up. Perhaps we even go back and it drops off our radar again and so the cycle goes on.I know this because it’s happened to me on more on one occasion with more than just my practice.
I’m not an expert on how the brain works but I can share from my own experiences and that of many people I’ve met on this crazy journey called life.
Personally, I find that starting new things and sticking to them can take time. Start, stop, start, stop is no stranger in my life, in fact, it’s become a very dear friend. It used to cause me so much frustration but now it’s my biggest teacher/guide.
The difference now is that I am a bit older, perhaps wiser (cough) and I’m not willing to give up on the things that make me feel good. No matter how many times I stop, I am willing to keep trying because I know I have to look after myself.
Yoga and meditation have become a daily habit and just like brushing my teeth if I don’t do something, even 5 minutes I lose that deep connection between my mind, body and spirit. Yoga and meditation have really taught me to show up for myself even when I can’t be arsed.
If this sounds familiar then please don’t be disheartened. I wasn’t given will power, or patience when they were handing it out at birth, I have had to work at it and to be honest I still do.
Adding anything new can be a challenge. Some days it just feels like we don’t have the will, time or energy and that’s ok.
There is a little more to habits than just repartition but as with everything, it’s as easy or difficult as we want to make it.
Creating a new habit (not just yoga/meditation) and sticking to it takes some time, work and patience. Here are a few things I have found handy in my life. I hope you find them helpful too.
1) Set your intention first
First, we have to know our WHY. Take some time now and write down why you want to practice. Set an alarm for 5 minutes, put pen to paper, no need to intellectualise or edit the process just let the words flow from the heart onto the page.
From this take your one burning desire and imagine yourself in the future feeling this way, as if it were true. Turn the desire into a present, specific and positive statement. Some like “I am ………” fill in the blank. Repeat it in the mind’s eye a few times and notice how it feels.
Keep coming back to this intention again and again. There is a possibility this will change over time so keep checking in with your intentions.
Having a strong intention will help to draw you back to the practice.
2) The 2 Day Rule
Habits stick if they become consistent. I have used the 2-day rule for years and it’s changed my life. I won’t allow myself more than 2 days away from my healthy habits. I get on the mat to meditate or practice yoga as often as I can even if I can only do a few minutes.
Any longer than 2 days and I lose my connection and I start feeling a bit rubbish. I use this for everything in my life including the things that aren’t so great for me. I do love a glass of wine or 2 but I will never drink consecutively for more than 2 days in a row if I do I start to feel a bit rubbish. It’s the same with processed food.
3) Put it in your schedule before anything else
I like to pop my practices into my diary on a Sunday, I will not budge unless something drastic happens. I treat each practice as if it were a doctors appointment, I am hoping that my practice will save me visits to the Doctors in the future.
You can also prepare for it the night before or first thing in the morning. Get your kit out ready. When I worked in pubs we used to say “prior preparation prevents piss poor performance”. It’s true!
4) Make it realistic
If you can’t do an hour that week but you can do 30 minutes then great. In our Virtual Studio, we have a mixture of 60 and 30 minutes classes. You can pick n mix each week to suit your schedule.
Let’s face it, life will take you away from your intentions to practice, no worries, look into why and then reset your intention. We are human after all, there are no failures just opportunities to start again.
5) Practice yoga at home
Yoga can be expensive and time-consuming. Doing it from home takes away many of the pressures and restraints. In our Virtual studio, you can even get access to all the recording so you can practice whenever you like.
Imagine, no travel, no parking, no getting there 20 minutes early so you can get to the back or front of the class.
You can even do it in your PJ’s if you want.
The other beauty of a home yoga practice is that it takes out the worry that other people are watching and judging you. After practising for a while there are certainly less f**ks given about what we feel other people are thinking about us but I know that it can be a concern in the beginning.
Don’t let that voice in the head distract you. You know the one. If you have followed the previous steps then there is no reason other than distraction and listen to the voice in the head that will keep you off the mat.
6) Ignore the Excuses
All thoughts are just thought. I know it’s a shocker!
The biggest lesson from my mindfulness practise is that I am not my thoughts and it was such a relief to know that I don’t have to pay attention to everything I think.
You are not too old, fat, thin, unfit, busy or whatever else you might be telling yourself. There is a practice to suit everyone.
In our Virtual Yoga Studio, I share different styles.
At first, it might not be easy but it is worth it.
Just remember you are worth it but no one is going to do it for you. Showing up for yourself is often the hardest part. If you can master that then you are winning at life.
I’d love to hear the ways you have made your healthy habits stick? Leave a comment below and let’s lift each other up.
Happy Yoga’ingLynz xoxo