We’ve all been there on those days when we just don’t feel like rolling out our mat, and moving our body mindfully. In fact, that one day might’ve turned into a whole week, and that week could’ve turned into a month. Before you know it, a whole year might pass before you’ve taken a yoga class, or done self practice on your own.
And yet, it doesn’t have to.
Let me be clear in saying that rest days are important. And a huge component of practicing yoga beyond asana is the ability to listen to your body, and honoring your body’s needs with your movements.
However, even when you’re taking a rest day, you’re still able to move your body lovingly. Maybe that means hanging out in Pigeon Pose for a few minutes on each side while listening to your breath. Or, maybe that means a full on fiery 60 minute Vinyasa class with a million Chatarungas.
Whatever your version of loving movement is, try to do that every single day- understanding that the movements themselves will likely vary as your body’s needs vary on a daily basis, as well. This post will outline 7 ways for you to motivate yourself to practice yoga even when you don’t want to.
Oh, and for all of you out there who say you just don’t have time…guess what? I created the perfect solution for you, too, because I have a kick ass series called No Time For Yoga complete with 24, 15 minute classes. Plus, there’s classes to get you sweating, as well as gentle yin, and even meditation. I just want you to show up on your mat as much as possible.
7 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Practice Yoga
When it comes to motivating yourself to practice yoga even when you don’t want to, it’s important to remember that yoga is a holistic practice, not only a physical exercise. Yoga is a philosophy, a way of life, and a true way of being in a way that extends well beyond the time we spend on the mat.
That being said, you can still take time to practice yoga every day, even if you’re not moving your body at all. Yoga is made up of 8 Limbs, and the postures are only one of those 8 Limbs.
What is asana in yoga?
Yoga is so much more than asana. Asana is the Sanskrit word for the postures.
The word “yoga” in today’s day and age usually makes you think of yoga poses, right? You probably imagine some chick all pretzeled up in a complicated shape, but still looking serene. I get it.
The reason asana has been sold to us as yoga today, is that we live in a very visual world. And we sell things on visual platforms like social media and websites. That means we can captivate potential new clients or students with something flashy like Scorpion Pose, versus a subtle reminder of yogic philosophy.
More often than not, yoga is seen as just another fitness program. When, the truth is, it’s more of a holistic practice than anything else.
This post will outline ways in which you can practice asana when your motivation is low, however, just know that you can practice yoga with or without asana so long as you’re familiar with all 8 Limbs.
One of my favorite ways to motivate myself to practice yoga when I don’t want to is to make a really good playlist that my body naturally wants to move and groove to. Don’t worry, if making a playlist sounds like too big of an effort, I have a ton of options on my own Spotify. Or, you can also just search Spotify’s playlists, as well.
When you’re choosing your music, try to use music that makes your body naturally move. This will help you to drop into that place of intuitive movement during a self-practice at home.
There tends to be this misconception about yoga classes that they’re only a “real” class, or a “full” practice, if they’re at least an hour long. While I love a 60 minute class (or even longer), I’m not kidding when I say I can absolutely get you sweating in just 10 minutes. Trust me, this is feedback I get from surprised students on my app all the time.
Like I mentioned before, you can check out my No Time For Yoga Series if you’re looking for short, guided classes at home. Or, you can do your own practice that’s any length of time. Honestly, even if it’s 60 seconds of mindful movement and conscious breath- that’s still yoga.
One way that really helps me to get flowing on my mat is to start with a sequence that’s really familiar. For me, that’s my own version of a traditional Sun Salutation. But for you, it might be another sequence.
Try to choose a sequence that’s uncomplicated, something that you know without needing to think about it too much, and ideally something that’s going to warm up the body without overdoing it right off the bat.
Commit to practicing the sequence however many times you think is possible (I like to commit to 5 Sun Sals, personally), and then see what happens once you reach that commitment. Sometimes your body is done, and you roll up your mat. But most of the time, your body wants more once it gets started. Let it tell you, it’s just your job to listen.
Make It Social
Perhaps you’re struggling to get motivated at home, even after trying the above tips. In that case, make your yoga classes social. Plan to go to a class in a studio with your bestie or your partner. Sometimes, we’re a lot better at making, and keeping, commitments to others than we are to ourselves.
Another option for those of you who prefer to practice in yoga studios, rather than at home or online is to actually invest in a bundle or classes or memberships at your studio of choice. I get it, yoga classes aren’t cheap. But the thing is that when we make an investment on something like a month of unlimited yoga, it tends to get us motivated to go as much as possible to ensure that the investment was “worth it.”
Foresight is my best friend when it comes to helping my motivation. If my body is feeling unmotivated in the present moment, I like to actually close my eyes and feel how my body will feel after I do a class. Chances are, I don’t want to take a break from working, and I’ve been sitting at a laptop all morning. That means my body is tight, and could use a quick practice more than ever.
When I put myself in future Kayla’s body after a yoga class, how can I say no to getting on the mat right now? I know I’ll feel better after. I’ve honestly never felt worse after moving my body lovingly, which gives me no reason to avoid it. Motivation is born from the future feeling of greatness.
Moving lovingly is an act of self care, and most of us can use a little more self care in our day-to-day lives. It can be challenging to sneak in self care with the busyness of life, and most of the time it doesn’t look like the elaborate baths and spa days that we see on Instagram.
The truth is, we can all afford to carve out little pockets of time and space even when life is chaotic. We just have to prioritize it, and we have to prioritize ourselves. Remember, even just 1 minute of swaying in Rag Doll with controlled breath is yoga. You can afford that in your day, I just know it.
Tapas are one of the Niyamas in yoga. The Niyamas are one of the other 8 Limbs of the yoga practice. Tapas is about inner fire, building confidence through self determination, motivation, and consistency. Understanding Tapas is an incredible way to round out your yoga practice beyond asana.
Recognize those moments of low motivation, and remind yourself of practicing yoga holistically by choosing to practice Tapas in that low motivation state of being. Practicing Tapas will mean you’re able to cultivate more consistency in your practice, and eventually show up to your mat just about every single day.
Don’t forget, it’s okay if the movements look different each time you show up. Don’t worry if some days you practice for an hour, and other days it’s more like 5 minutes. The consistency comes from the act of showing up at all. That is enough.