Do you say “yes” more often than you should to others and “no” more often than you should to yourself—and your yoga practice? Amy Ippoliti shares her tips on how to get back on the mat this month as well as finding a routine worth sticking to for good.
I’m a “Yes” person. With bundles of energy and technology to help me do everything faster, I tend to say yes more often than I should. Before I know it I’m up to my ears in deadlines and responsibilities and have no time to make it to my mat to practice yoga.
I know I am not alone. A tension always exists between our responsibilities to our jobs, our families or our children, and the responsibility we have to our own well-being. When faced with the choice, the responsibility to others often takes priority. Although our choices are justified a downward spiral begins in our yoga. The less in shape we are to practice the less inclined we are to practice. It’s easier to choose those other responsibilities in life and not make time in our life to get to the mat for ourselves.
Yet research and personal experience have shown a regular yoga practice makes us happier, more productive, relaxed, grounded in our decisions and guided from a place of deep authenticity, among other benefits. When practiced regularly (and intelligently), yoga helps us live in our hearts so we can be more patient colleagues, more engaged employees, more supportive children and more loving parents. Yoga makes us better.
Here are five actions I’m taking this month to stick to my yoga mat:
1. Putting my yoga mat where I can see it.
I’m choosing a strategic spot to store my mat, nearby an open floor space so it can be unrolled swiftly and easily.
2. Wearing my yoga clothes first thing.
Before I put on my “day” clothes, I’m going to put on my yoga clothes (or something stretchy or comfortable) so I’m ready for my morning practice. (If time is an excuse for you, set your alarm for 10 to 20 minutes earlier—not long in the scheme of things.)
3. If not first thing in the morning, I’m going to stop, drop and roll out the mat no matter the time of day.
Practicing yoga doesn’t have to mean practicing a complicated or lengthy sequence. I’m going to acknowledge this month that it’s simply about finding the time to play and create space in my body and my mind. I will set a timer for 10 minutes. (On my iPhone, it’s as easy as telling Siri to “set a timer for 10 minutes.”)
4. Giving myself a post-yoga high five instead of beating myself up for not practicing for longer.
I’m going to be grateful for those minutes I received. Positive reinforcement is key to establishing a routine.
5. Acknowledging the shift.
Before returning to my day, I’m going to take a moment to notice how the practice has shifted me in my body, mind and spirit. Awareness of the change is enough to plant the seed of motivation to get us back on the mat again soon.