Motivation. A word that can fill us with hope or frustration.
Being motivated is what drives us to do things in life, and like most things it waxes and wanes.
Running from class to class, spending time with friends, sending emails, teaching.. I am sure you have a long list of things that could get in your way of practice. And we know that practice is hugely beneficial - from Yin Yoga to Yoga Nidra and all that there is in between. So why are we letting things get in our way of it?
I've spoken to a lot of friends and students who have found their motivation going out of the window these past two years. Some of them have seemed to assume that because I am a yoga teacher, I get all of my own practice in every day. This is not the case - especially during times of hectic activity and stress, my own practice goes out of the window.
But I have found ways to get around these sticking points, by making small changes that have meant I practice more consistently. This blog is all about those changes - in the name of staying motivated to practice.
So, how do I stay motivated?
1. Go back to basics
Sometimes we get caught up in thinking that the only way to practice is through a fancy, elaborate, long session. Just the thought of having to dedicate an hour a day can be enough to put people off practicing. These longer practices do have a time and a place, however know that:
- Two minutes of practice is better than zero.
- Simply sitting and breathing is one of the most powerful practices we have.
Give yourself space to do the minimum, and be more than ok with it. Often once we're on our mats, we do much more than we originally expected.
2. Tailor your environment
Our environment is a huge influence on our motivation. Our brain is picking up cues without us even realising - which in turn influences how we form habits. Whether we turn on the TV or meditate; eat a snack or move - our surroundings can dictate where our day goes.
With this in mind, purposefully place your yoga mat, mediation cushion ect. somewhere obvious, where you know you can practice quietly. The more we see the cue to practice, the more we will do so!
3. Give yourself space to feel
Following on from the last point, listen to your body. Our bodies are amazing at telling us what they need - all we need to do is be still and feel.
The likelihood is if you do this, you might enjoy your practice more - as it's what your body really needs. And where there is enjoyment, we are more likely to be consistent!
4. Diversify your practice
I find exploring one of the best ways to keep me motivated - and thankfully there are a lot of styles of yoga out there, and within one style, many ways to practice. Due to the internet, it is now easy to experience teachers from many other countries from the comfort of your own home.
5. Know that 'practice' is off the mat too
The practice of yoga is so much more than poses, breathing and relaxation. There is a whole world of philosophy along with guidelines for living your life to explore.
For instance Santosha means 'contentment' or 'cheerfulness', and is one of the Niyamas (guidelines for creating a positive relationship with ourselves). Practicing Santosha could mean writing a gratitude journal; smiling at someone or practicing being content with what you have.
If you're curious about Yoga Philosophy, you can check out this Youtube video of mine.
Thank you for reading!