It isn’t always easy. Well, I guess that implies that it is most of the time easy…which it isn’t. Showing up to any workout or meal (that isn’t trash) is hard. It takes willpower, dedication, and all that jazz. And none of that screams “easy”.
Carving out time to do yoga isn’t the hardest part. Showing up isn’t the hardest part. It’s building a strong enough base and routine that allows you to do it consistently.
Consistency in anything is what gets you places. It’s the whole “practice makes perfect” thing. You have to keep coming back. And not just every so often or even once a week. Routine attendance to a studio or your mat is the most important aspect of progressing.
And that’s what we really want, right?
I don’t care who you are, if someone came up to you and said, “You can do this, but you will never see any emotional, mental, or physical improvement” you wouldn’t keep going. We do yoga to better ourselves. Whether that’s physically or mentally, we are doing it to find progress and it’s important that we recognize that.
But how do we effectively see progress? How do effectively see a difference between today and tomorrow?
We make a schedule and we stick to it.
I’m definitely biased because I’m a list maker. If there’s a list to be made, I’m going to make three. But I’m also a little bit of a wild thing, fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal. So while I make tons of schedules and lists, I also always show up unprepared. When some teachers have lesson plans, I have nothing other than the stars above me. And hopefully they’re lined up.
But I’ve learned that there’s a real benefit to having a schedule. Mainly that it keeps you on track and keeps you honest about showing up. If you have a class ever Monday and Wednesday and you’re paying attention to whether or not you go, you have an easy way to hold yourself accountable.
The issue becomes when you do the same thing over and over. But we’ll get into that in a minute.
Before you have a chance to feel bored or lose a sense of accountability, you have to develop a pattern.
Now, when it comes to yoga, I don’t see why you can’t do it every day. Now, I’m not saying that two hours of hot yoga or any yoga a day is good for you. You can go overboard with yoga just like anything else. But there’s ways to avoid that.
Let’s look at how you might want to structure in consistency.
As a beginner
Practice every day. Between 60-90 minutes of yoga twice a week in a studio or even at home is a great foundation. These are going to be your big workouts. From there, anywhere from ten to twenty minutes daily at home will keep you progressing. Make sure you incorporate restorative practices as much as you need throughout the week to keep your body happy.
As an established beginner
Keep practicing every day, you don’t want to lose momentum now! Up that hour of practice or more to three to four times a week. Continue to incorporate restorative practices but maybe up the length of them.
This is where it kinda becomes up to you. I would say at this point a day off once a week is up to you but I still hold firm that a gentle restorative flow does wonders. If you’ve been doing one hour practices, shoot for 90 minute practices.
The bottom line, as I’m sure you gathered, is to do it every day. Keep yourself honest about it. The longer you do it, the more you’ll find the benefit of a daily practice even if that practice is laying on your mat, doing a few poses, and then meditating because you have a cold.
But here’s the thing, doing the same thing over and over week after week, is boring. No matter how you look at it, it’s boring. Going to a class that once felt special can even feel boring because you get used to going.
And this is where the habit kinda bites you in the butt.
Two suggestions for this.
One, don’t be afraid to take time off. Now I know that I’ve spent this whole post talking about consistency. But catching yourself before you burn out is important. Taking a specific amount of time off is important every now and then.
Second suggestion is to develop a practice that keeps interesting you. This means not just doing the same kind of class over and over. Try new things, spice up your practice, and pick fun little videos to do at home. You can also try to practice outside, at different times in the day, or even twice a day.
What’s important here is that you develop a schedule that works for you by incorporating smaller practices to supplement your once or twice a week big classes. Feel comfortable pushing yourself and believe that you’re able to do what you set your mind to.