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Yoga home practice: how do you motivate yourself to get on the mat?

Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain a regular yoga practice at home, or even to get one started if it’s not part of your usual routine. Often, I feel I should be practicing but then end up procrastinating about getting on the mat.


The truth is, I always love it once I get there.


Winter especially can often make us a little lethargic about the thought of moving our bodies, but actually checking in with your practice regularly can help. Sometimes there is nothing better than moving your stagnant energy around doing some yoga, even if it’s just a gentle restorative style of practice.


Often we make excuses that we don’t have time but really time can be made for anything if we are making it a priority. Don’t feel that you need to start by practicing for an hour every day. If you are really busy then start small even adding in five to ten minutes a day to do something will get you started and give you something to build on. You will also get a sense of achievement that you actually made it happen.


And don’t beat yourself up about it. If five minutes is all you can manage then take those five minutes.. and make them count.


Set yourself a small target and build on it.


When I am pushed for time a few rounds of sun salutes are my quick go to and afterwards I feel so much more energised and it often inspires me to keep going. Even if this is all you manage to do it will give you a well-rounded session, invigorating the whole body and the repetition means that you can take the thinking out of it, quieten the mind and gain some of the moving meditation aspects as well.


Start with manageable goals.


Make it something you enjoy. Trying to push yourself to do something which doesn’t make you feel good is going to be harder to maintain. Don’t make yoga a chore. Yes sometimes the poses we avoid are the ones we need but when you need to gain motivation for your practice, it could be that the best way to do this initially is to go to the ones that makes you feel good.


Pick a pose that you want to develop or that inspires you.


Yoga is not about just learning to make shapes but sometimes finding a pose that you want to get better at or practice more can help get you motivated as you will begin to see your own progress and this will spur you on. It can also help shape your practice as you work on strengthening or opening the areas you need to master the pose.


Be gentle.


Yoga comes in many different forms. If you aren’t feeling energetic today then pick something more restorative or practice some Yin style postures. This helps keep you connected to the practice but won’t put you off if you are not in the mood to sweat. Choosing Yin yoga poses which stimulate the Kidney meridians for example can also be very energising when you feel burnt out or lacking in energy.


Most of all just try to let go of excuses and the feeling of ‘should’ - don’t force it. The times you least want to practice are the times when you am forcing yourself to do it or to practice something you are not in the right mind-set to do. If you really don’t feel like it then perhaps allow yourself to skip it, and don’t attach guilt to the situation.


Honour what your body needs.


Maybe the best thing you can do is a quick meditation instead of an asana practice or give yourself a few moments for some deep breathing, connecting to the practice another way.


Getting into a regular practice at home will actually do wonders for your practice. It offers you a chance to move at your own pace and really feel into your body, and with consistency you will start to notice increased strength, stamina and flexibility in the poses.


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