A disciplined daily yoga practice is the goal of any motivated yoga practitioner but it doesn’t always come naturally.
Since the day I started to take yoga seriously and realised yoga’s many spiritual and health benefits, I’ve wanted to practise it daily. But the reality of actually having a daily yoga and meditation practice, however, is something I have been wrestling with ever since! It still does not come easy.
1. Prioritise your practice – see it as a necessary part of your day
One of the main barriers to practising that I hear is “I don’t have enough time in the day”. And yes, it feels like life is busier than ever for many of us. Especially if you’re juggling caring for children or loved ones with work and projects. But taking care of your own body and mind has to be a necessity for you to be able to care for others – whether that’s through daily yoga and meditation or some other practice to get your body moving.
It helped me to hear Barack Obama say he starts each morning with a workout! If the (former) president of the United States could find the time, the rest of us should be able to, even if it’s just 20 to 30 minutes sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be a strenuous physical yoga class.
2. Try to practise at the same time every day
After many years of trying to be flexible and fitting in yoga around the rest of my day, I have learned that this approach does not work well for me. It’s too easy to keep putting it off until ”there is a better time” and end up not doing anything at all. When I practise at the same time every day I find it much much easier to keep the daily habit.
So what time is the best time to practise?
For me, it is first thing in the morning. I am most likely to practise then and keep up with it. After that, I can enjoy the benefits all day. Something else I have noticed that works really well for me is getting up a little earlier to add extra time to my day to practise. That way, I don’t have to fit it in somewhere. My practice gives me a healthy energy boost so getting up earlier doesn’t feel hard. Those students who have done a teacher training course with me know I always start each day with meditation and pranayama and part of the reason for this is to give people enough energy to get through the training. It works!
Everybody is different though, and if after work or evenings are better for you, that’s fine too. Find your time slot and try as much as you can to stick with it.
3. Make a plan
When you do not have a plan, your daily habits take over and again, it is very difficult to bring something “new” into your daily routine. So plan your time but also plan what you are going to do during that time. When you don’t, you might still get up early to practice but before you know it you’re checking your emails at 5am instead of doing yoga or meditation.