1. Place—Create a sacred space and practice in the same spot every time. Place a photo of your teacher in front of your mat so that you are reminded of him/her when you practice. When I practice at home I see my teacher and I get inspired to practice. Sometimes I pretend that he is in the room with me and it definitely motivates me. If you have the space leave your mat unrolled to claim the space for practice from other things in your life. It’s better if you have a spare room that you can devote only to yoga, but not everyone has that luxury. Just the space of a yoga mat can be a precious resource so claim it as an altar to the spiritual space within yourself and your life. On days when you don’t feel like practicing just go and stand on your yoga mat at your scheduled practice time and see what happens. If the energy is strong in that spot it will pull you forward into the practice. If you change into your yoga clothes at the time you have set for your practice. Sometimes just wearing yoga clothes will help also you get in practice mode.
2. Time—Practice as close to the same time every day as possible. If it is not possible then set a weekly schedule for when you will practice, make a calendar agenda appointment and stick to it. Setting the time helps to ritualize your behavior and you will expend less energy keeping to the discipline of daily practice.
3. Include—Share your motivations for practicing with your family or housemates. Including them in your journey will probably get them to support your practice. Having the respect of your family and friends in a key part of the practice because it means that yoga is integrated into your daily life.
4. Accept—Let go of the all or nothing idea, if you only have five minutes a day use that to practice. Many people will not practice unless they can do a full 90 minute session. But there will be days that your time is limited and it is not useful to skip practice if you only have twenty minutes to practice. As little as five minutes a day gives you the chance to do at least a few Sun Salutations and maintain the continuity of your practice.
5. Inspiration—Seek out classes, teachers, intensives, retreat, trainings, social media for inspiration. Join a class with a teacher who inspires you whenever you can. Travel if necessary to take intensives and immersions. Follow teachers and yoga practitioners who inspire and support your journey on social media (YouTube and Instagram are great home practice supports).
6. Discipline—Be disciplined with yourself. Hold yourself to a certain standard and be your own teacher when you practice solo. A great way to be disciplined with yourself is to assign yourself a project. For example, when you are working on back bending it is extremely hard to figure out each day what you do. It’s better to have a routine that you do every day that you don’t question. That is obviously better set by a qualified teacher but if you don’t have access to a teacher assign yourself a project that you will do every day for at least one month. At the end of the allotted period of time evaluate the success of the project and either continue it or move on to a new project. Don’t go crazy and assign yourself too many project. You should really only have one project per practice or else you might get too focused on the projects instead of the practice.
7. Goals—Set small attainable goals that you focus on during each practice. If you don’t feel motivated to practice don’t force yourself to do everything. Just set a small goal for each practice, like you will do at least ten minutes every day to start. Once you succeed at the small goals they build moment and success experiences that generate further interest and energy for the practice.
8. Record—Keep a daily log to chart the course of practice. Make it easy, like an app on your phone that click each time you practice or a calendar note. If you keep a log of how many days you spend doing yoga you can add them up at the end of the year and acknowledge the work that you’ve put in. I haven’t found a good yoga app that helps, but maybe I’ll develop something one day.
9. Forgive—Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t practice or when you feel that your practice was a train wreck. Just be grateful that you have a home practice and give yourself the span of your entire life to practice yoga. Practice being grateful and you will actually train your mind to think more appreciative thoughts.
Kino MacGregor for Yogin' it