My friend Sara sent me a text begging for help. Her work schedule varies weekly, her wedding is approaching, and she has no time! She’s missed all of my yoga classes for the past two weeks and could I help her develop a ‘yoga schedule’ to keep her accountable? Which classes are best for her? What does she do when she misses her favorite Tuesday night class? How can she find time?
She’s not alone: we are quick to identify the obstacles preventing a daily yoga practice. The biggest one? Time.
Every week requires a balancing act of life, work, family, and ‘fun-time’ activities. And it also requires us to carve out hours for the not-so-fun-time-activities: cleaning the house, doing the laundry, getting the oil changed, heading to doctor appointments, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on. My advice is this: structure your day around your yoga practice.
Many people find time in the day to sit for hours and watch TV. (No judgement here: I adore Office episode lunch breaks.) However, many people do not find time in the day to sit for one minute and breathe with meaning.
The benefits of Yoga are multifaceted and abundant: strength, balance, agility, coordination, flexibility, peace of mind, lower blood pressure, healthier heart. But most of all: life just gets better. Life just feels better when we just spend one hour moving and breathing to connect with God. But finding that one hour can be difficult. Over the years, I’ve helped students organize ‘training plans’ for their yoga practice. Here are my tips:
- Plan on practicing early in the morning. Waiting until the evening = procrastination. You will probably find a ‘reason’ to skip yoga class. (Also known as an excuse.) Although there are no scientific findings that suggest ‘working out’ at a certain time of the day increases the health benefits or calorie burning of your routine, research does suggest that a morning routine is more effective when it comes to developing a consistent habit. Read more here.
- Pack your yoga bag every evening. If you oversleep and accidentally miss my 6 am classes, your yoga bag is already packed for the day. Your yoga clothes, yoga mat, and towel are ready to go. This means you can sneak away from work at lunch and catch a noon class or leave work on time and enjoy an evening class before heading home. No excuses. (Just make sure you clean your yoga mat in between sessions if you are going to leave it in the car this summer! How to deep-clean your yoga mat.)
- Prepare a schedule. At the beginning of every month, print a Month Calendar and write your yoga schedule on it. If you set a goal of practicing 5 times a week, then you need to see how your yoga classes will schedule around other events. For example, if you have a wedding shower to attend on Saturday morning during your usual yoga class, you need to schedule a practice on Friday instead. It’s not rocket science, but the week tends to fly by if you aren’t paying attention. Schedule your yoga classes to your Google Cal (like an appointment that you will NOT miss) and you are SET!
- Partner Up. Find a friend and plan yoga-dates. Numerous studies show that having a ‘work-out partner’ increases accountability in keeping healthy habits. This article even suggests the type of person you choose as your partner is important. Yoga studios are a great way to meet people. Some of my closest friends are ladies who walked into my class first as students. Now, we text each other weekly to coordinate our yoga schedules and look forward to seeing each other every class. Being accountable to a friend or a teacher makes a difference. (If you would like me to text you at 5:15 am to remind you to get up and come to my Sunrise Yoga classes, I’ll do it!)
- Perfect your one breath. If all you have time to do is stand on your yoga mat for ONE big breath, do it. The more time you spend breathing deeply, mindfully, and meaningfully, the more you realize the value of ONE breath. Set your Intention for the day, and perfect your one breath. Your practice will be a success. You may find out that, “many of the obstacles you thought were there do not even exist.”
Tell me how you schedule your day and your yoga practice. What helpful habits have you formed? I’d love to hear from you. Happy Practicing!