By Megan W
For as long as we can remember, we’ve always been told how important regular physical activity is to our overall health and wellbeing. Throughout grade school and college, getting in a workout at least 3 times a week may have been easy, especially if you were involved in athletics.
And then life happened.
Maybe you got a full-time job, went to graduate school, bought a home, or started a family, and sooner or later, regular exercise got moved to the bottom of your priority list.
We get it.
The truth is, everyone’s busy. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make time for you, and it definitely doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your physical (and mental!) wellbeing because your days are always booked. It could take some schedule changes or small sacrifices, but allowing yourself to move your body and feel present for just an hour a week will reap physical and mental benefits you didn’t know you needed.
The new year is always a great time to create new challenges and goals for yourself. When you’re ready for a refresh or you’re ready to “begin again,” we encourage you to set aside some time each week for YOU – and we’d love to see you on your mat.
But we understand that it’s not easy to suddenly pull a full 180 and integrate a regular yoga routine into your everyday life, especially if your schedule is full and this is a new thing to be introducing. So, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite suggestions on how you can begin incorporating a consistent yoga practice throughout the next year, two years, decade… and life.
1. Understand that it’s a journey, not a destination.
If you’ve practiced yoga before, you may have gotten caught up in the thought that your practice wasn’t progressing like it did when you first started. Let these feelings of discouragement go! Noticeable changes are like seasons. You work on your goals, you get curious and try new things, maybe you think nothing is happening and suddenly one day is your “ah-ha” moment on the mat. You can reach your toes?! No one knows what your journey will look like or when big shifts will happen for you – your practice is as simple as you showing up for yourself. Your body will flow along no matter what. And when you find yourself in one of those states of a plateau, that’s your cue to get curious and get up to your next level. Ask questions – what happens if I bend deeper here? Where am I not feeling anything? Where am I feeling too much? In the end, you are always in control of what your practice is for you and how you show up.
If you’re brand new to yoga, you may not even know where to begin in setting a goal and wonder what your practice will offer you and how it could serve you. (Maybe actually stepping into the studio and taking a class was a HUGE first step)
A good place to start if you’re feeling like you’re in a slump (or if you’re just beginning) is to define why you started (or want to start) in the first place. Do you want to become stronger? More flexible? Less stressed? Decrease anxiety? Whatever your reason, write it down somewhere that you’ll look at every day or every week. This will serve as a reminder to practice, even on the days when you’re feeling sluggish.
2. Make it a priority.
One of the toughest parts of developing a consistent yoga practice is making it a priority every day or week. This goes for any new routine that you’ve shoved to the bottom of your to-do list, but it’s the golden ticket to keeping up with it and making progress.
Our best piece of advice is to completely shift your mindset about the practice. Instead of thinking of yoga as a hobby, think of it as a lifestyle – integrate the tools you learn in class into your everyday life.
When you start feeling stressed at work or in the middle of the day, take a few deep, slow breaths to restore your focus. When you’re walking outside to your car, be present and notice the sounds and smells of the area around you. When your mind starts racing, notice how those thoughts affect your mood and how you speak to others.
Yoga isn’t just about handstands and down dogs and wheels; it’s also about discovering your inner-self and creating balance. Once you regularly integrate that self-inquiry, alongside the consistent physical practice, you’re fully engaging your mind, body, and spirit for a yoga lifestyle.
3. Store your mat where you’ll see it every day.
Like they say… out of sight, out of mind. Another good way to make sure you get your practice in, is to make sure your yoga gear is easy to access. Try storing your mat somewhere you’ll see it every day – it’ll serve as a reminder to practice.
Being prepared for class is another critical aspect of fitting a regular yoga routine into your schedule. If you’re like most people and work a 9-5 job, make it easy to get to class by packing your mat and a change of clothes in your car so you can go straight from work. If you’re feeling ambitious, lay your mat and clothes out the night before and attend an early 6 a.m. class to “namaste” before the workday.
4. Find a supportive community.
No matter what kind of physical activity you’re doing, it’s always more fun with a little support! It’s typically easier to stay committed to something when you have other like-minded people doing it with you.
The best part about attending yoga classes in a studio is the community that comes with it. When you step into Evolution you are joining not just a studio that offers classes, you are joining a community of individuals all there for different reasons, all ready to welcome you, and see YOU. The Baptiste style of yoga really focuses on this aspect of the practice – we’re constantly reminded to breathe and build energy for the yogis around us.
Plus, we’re all about building relationships at EPY! Both our teachers and students are there for each other, from trying new poses to dialing down on alignment to celebrating 100 classes. When you have an empowering community that’s always lifting you up, scheduling in a consistent yoga routine is hard to resist.
Interested in ringing in the new year with a transformational yoga practice? We’re ready to welcome you to the Evolution Power Yoga community!
Take advantage of our introductory offer! 30 days UNLIMITED yoga for $40