If your yoga practice has been flagging a little lately, you’re not alone. It can be tough to keep up a consistent practice when your day is already full of so many tasks and obligations.
We step out of our routines for lots of reasons—a change of schedule, extra stress, or simple boredom—but after a week or two of letting your practice slide, all the excuses not to prioritize yoga can start sneaking in.
At first, yoga can seem like another item to cross off on your to-do list. But when it becomes part of your routine, you’ll start to see all of the amazing spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits yoga has to offer. We call yoga a “practice” for a reason—it takes time and consistency to see your yoga improve.
But if you find you haven’t made it back to the mat in a while, don’t despair. We’ve all been there. Whether you’re returning to yoga from a hiatus, or trying to make yoga part of your life for the first time, here are six strategies to help bring yoga back into your daily life.
1. Start off slow.
If you haven’t been back to the mat in a while, it may not be the best idea to jump right into that 2-hour Bikram session right away. Start off easy and take your practice slow so you can focus on the important meditative aspects of yoga. Trying to jump in too fast might cause you to burn out and hit “pause” on your practice again.
2. Set an intention—and repeat it!
What brought you to your mat in the first place? Were you looking for a moment of peace, or perhaps a way to connect with your truest self? When you re-start your practice, set an intention for your practice.
This is different from a goal—“learn to do a headstand” isn’t an intention the way we meant it. Instead, it’s more like an aspiration that you can grow towards. Keep repeating this intention before, during, and after your practice—especially during those difficult times when your intention feels furthest away.
3. Make time.
Despite what you might believe, you DO have time for a yoga practice—you just have to make it. Try setting your alarm clock fifteen minutes early to carve out a small time slot for your morning yoga practice. After a week or two, set the clock back further until you can get a full session in before your day begins.
4. Try a different time of day to see what feels right.
Maybe morning isn’t the best time for your yoga practice. Some of us just aren’t morning people, and no amount of coffee is going to fix that.
Instead of getting up early for an energizing yoga session, try a sequence that will leave you feeling calm and centered before bed. Any time of day is the right time for a yoga practice, even if you have to squeeze it in during your lunch break!
5. Write it down.
Nothing keeps you motivated like a log of your progress. Keep a short journal about your practice, jotting down what time you practiced and for how long. Feel free to add any additional notes about what felt good, what needs work, and what thoughts and feelings came up during your practice. Not only will this keep you motivated, but it also will help you engage your practice on an even deeper level.
6. Go easy on yourself.
Nothing kills a yoga practice like too much pressure to get it right. Let’s get this straight: there is no such thing as a perfect yogi! Set expectations that you can actually meet, but don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t always make it to the mat.
After all, yoga is not about attaining the perfect Crow Pose, or what accessories you use, or even how far you can push yourself during your practice. Your yoga practice is all about you. Take care of yourself, no matter what.
How do you get back in the yoga groove after a break? Share your tips in the comments.