I just don't have time to do Yoga today!
I will surely start from Monday !
Does this sound familiar?
If you are a Yoga lover and have been struggling to make this your daily habit and take your practice to the next level, read on.
We know that with good healthy habits, we can lead a healthier and happy life. However, to form any new habit, we need 3D'S - Discipline, Dedication and Determination. Making Yoga a daily routine is not that easy, especially when you have a busy life. But with patience and commitment, you can make it an integral part of your life. My years as a yoga student and teacher have taught me that even with just fifteen minutes of Yoga, you can transform your entire day.
The Sanskrit word sankalpa means "a resolve or intention formed in the heart". When I started Yoga, my aim was to lose weight. This is when I came across Sankalpa as a tool. Though I really wanted to lose weight, I took the resolve of being healthy to begin with. I resolved to become aware of my food and started eating right. Over time, I was able to shed those extra pounds.
Making a resolution is helpful, especially when you are forming a new habit. Start by setting straightforward goals and get them to stick over time.
Doing Yoga as soon as you wake up can be a challenge if you're not a morning person. But the benefits are too many to ignore. Once you finish your practice first thing in the morning, you have the whole day for your work, play and everything in between.
Practicing Yoga in the morning allows me to centre my mind and get ready for the day, both physically and mentally. My day starts with gratitude and positive energy, which I can pass on to everyone around me.
While I have also practiced in the evenings, if I miss my morning Yoga, I find my energy low throughout the day. For regular practitioners it is advised to choose the same time every day for your practice.
Because of the pandemic, we have all discovered online Yoga. You can now practice with your favourite teacher from anywhere in the world. Imagine this: You're holding a challenging pose, and the pain is more than you can take. Then, just when you are ready to give up, you hear a voice leading you to bring your awareness to your breath and observe. You begin to notice that you can take the challenge and hold the pose a few seconds longer.
"What works on the mat works off the mat". So, if you are stuck in traffic, dealing with a tough boss, or just about any stressful situation, always remember to take a few breaths, relax, and face the challenge.
I have a four-year-old daughter, and sometimes, I get overwhelmed when I am unable to cope with her in between managing my work, house and home. Just when I am about to react, I try and observe my breath and bring myself to the present moment. This helps me calm down and get me back to my centre.
This four-step pattern is the backbone of forming any habit - Cue, Craving, Response and Reward. The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behaviour that predicts the reward. Cravings are the second step of the habit loop, and they are the motivational force behind every habit. The third step is the response which is the actual habit you form. Finally, the response delivers a reward, the end goal of every habit.
This process is an endless loop that is running and active in every moment of our life. Your intention to get on your mat every day can lead you to set the alarm as a reminder, and you might cherish a hot cup of cocoa as a reward after practice. However, once that habit is formed, the rewards will fall away naturally.
If you want a habit to stick, one of the easiest ways is to have a habit tracker or a journal where you track your daily progress against the intention you have set for yourself. I am old school in this aspect. Even though there are so many tech tools available, I prefer using a physical diary to record my learnings and progress :)
You could start with a calendar where you mark every day of practice. Over time, you can make this a richer experience with notes and learnings. Soon your calendar will become a full report of your yoga habit pattern. Keep adding to your journal your thoughts, feelings and emotions before and after practice and watch your yoga journey transform.
So, what are you waiting for now?
Start your yoga habit now!
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