These days, it seems like everyone is talking about the importance of a regular yoga practice. But getting to a yoga studio for a 60- or 90-minute class can feel like an impossible task to add into your everyday routine. How do people do it? Is yoga really something that can be as integral as brushing your teeth? If you’ve been yoga curious, here’s how to make yoga an integral part of your everyday routine.
Wake Up on Your Mat
One of the easiest ways to make yoga a part of your life is to do it first thing in the morning. As the day wears on, you’ll likely find an increasing number of excuses for why you can’t or don’t want to get to your mat. But if you roll out of bed and start your day with a few sun salutations, you’ll avoid falling into procrastination and may just feel better about taking on everything else.
Get the Right Gear
The truth is that you can do yoga in pretty much any type of clothing. If it’s first thing in the morning, there’s nothing stopping you from practicing in your pajamas! But for some, it can be helpful to have the right clothes for the right activity. If this sounds like you, then give yourself a few new yoga outfits that you’ll look forward to wearing. If you love what’s on your body and love how you feel in it, you may be more inclined to make yoga a daily ritual.
Make It Mindful
Of course, the beauty of yoga is that it’s more than just asana—the physical poses we most closely identify with it. While some people come to yoga for physical motivations and improved balance, flexibility, and strength, others may find yoga beneficial for stress relief. Whatever your motivation, be clear with yourself for why you are coming to your mat.
Once you know why you showed up to practice, know that yoga isn’t just what happens within the four corners of your mat, or the walls of the studio or the space in your home. It can be so much more. One way to make yoga an integral part of your daily routine is to practice mindfulness. The time you spend on your mat is great for teaching you patience, presence, and kindness. Take these beliefs with you as you do other activities throughout the day.
Release the Need to Compete
Unlike other activities, yoga is not a competitive sport. In fact, comparison in yoga—with ourselves and with other people—can actually de-motivate us in the long-run. Instead of constantly comparing your arm balance with the person in class next to you, consider releasing this need to compete, instead creating more space to show up openly and with curiosity about how your practice will feel on that specific day.
Take a Deep Breath
With so much focus on the physical shape, it’s easy to overlook the fourth limb of yoga—pranayama. Although you’re breathing all day, have you taken the time to notice the quality of each breath? Are they smooth and deep or short and shallow? Just checking in to notice how you are breathing can be enough of a reminder to get you back into the present moment. And just like that, you’re practicing yoga—at your desk, on the bus, or wherever else your busy life has taken you.
Integrating yoga into your everyday routine can feel like a unique challenge. It makes you feel great, but it can be a challenge to make it to class everyday. The good news is that you don’t have to even show up on a mat to get your daily practice going. With a few of these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to a regular yoga routine in no time.