Natalie Mazur Yoga
3 Ways to Begin a Yoga Practice You Can Easily Stick With
Embarking on any new habit or practice can be challenging. It's the process of incorporating something new into your schedule that wasn't there before. It's much easier to continue doing things the way we've always done...until it's not.
What I mean by this is, if we are engaged in habits that aren't serving us or we know that we would feel better in the long run if we were building better balance and mobility, by NOT making a change, ultimately things might actually get harder.
It might become harder to sit and stand easily.
It might become harder to stay present to what's happening right in front of you.
It might become harder to regularly feel calm...
So rather than that, let's set you up for success.
Discover and remember your WHY
Making a new commitment takes a strong WHY.
Why begin this new practice? How will beginning this new practice change your life?
This WHY sits as the foundation grounding your committment and effort.
As you begin practicing, remind yourself of why you started, what did you want to achieve, how did you want to feel, what did you want to enhance about your life?
In moments where we may fall back to habitual patterns, this why can help return us to those intentions. Choosing to change behavior now to create what we want for ourselves. This is going to sound obvious but think about it, if something is going to change, something has to change.
Something that can be helpful here is also visualizing your WHY.
Imagine yourself feeling the way you want to feel.
Imagine the quality of your life and your experiences having made this change.
What does it feel like, look like, sound like, etc. How are your relationships and communication impacted by this why?
This visualizing takes the WHY one step further and brings it in the imagination, giving you something to move towards.
2. Give yourself easy-to-reach goals, rather than sky-high expectations.
We can really only start where we are. We can dream BIG but we can't expect growth to come in leaps and bounds. You climb a mountain step by step.
Especially considering this is a physically focused practice, we can't force our bodies to change rapidly, rather the body adapts over time.
You'll be better set up for success if you gradually integrate your yoga practice, staying within a comfortable edge that works for you and your body. You might feel a stretch but it's not intolerable and painful, your legs might get tired and feel sensation from lunges but you're not working them until it's unbearable.
Ease into the movements and honor where your body is at.
Instead of expecting anything from yourself, remember your big picture why and then give yourself a super achievable goal, for example 15 minutes of gentle yoga.
The body learns through repitition and consistency. And you're more likely to be consistent when what you set out to do feels easily achievable.
Having a private yoga instructor can help with this because as you practice, the instructor adapts the yoga so it evolves as you do.
Your private instructor is familiar with the capacities and limitations in your body because of their experience working with you. They have a good idea of what would serve you and what might be too much.
They can also offer alternatives if whatever you're practicing doesn't feel good in your body. There are so many poses that can be made accessible with the help of props and modifications.
Related: 4 Reasons Your Can Do Yoga Even If You're Not Flexible
3. Don't Do Too Much Too Fast, But Do Be Consistent
Add it to your calendar, write it in your planner, make a post-it and stick it to your mirror, do whatever would be effective for you to treat your new practice as a non-negotiable part of your day or week.
As many do, with physical practice, or diets, or new years resolutions, we can tend to go ALL IN, putting forth efforts or changes in a non-sustainable way and then after a little while, slide back to our regular routines.
With diets, we can tend to make big changes, cut out a lot of things but then after a little while, go back to our original eating habits. This doesn't work; for a change to occur we need to incorporate habits that are sustainable, that still make our eating experience enjoyable.
It's similar with yoga, we don't wanna start off super strong, then potentially hurt ourselves or get discouraged and then stop.
The body adapts over time, not overnight.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
It's more about the steadiness that you practice with.
Even if you show up on your mat and do two restorative poses, you have shown up. You set the time aside and worked on your practice.
Having a private yoga instructor there not only as your personal teacher but as a sort of accountability buddy can help as well.
You make a committment to yourself and your well-being through your committment and investment with the instructor.
You also don't have to figure out what class you'll do each week or where you'll do it because your yoga class takes place in your home and is made and customized for you.
So, whether it's for yoga or another practice we're bringing into our life, we can keep our WHY guiding our way like a north star, reminding us why we started and what we're doing it for, and then just keep showing up, taking nice, manageable, enjoyable baby steps on our way there.
Ready to start your practice?