In mid-December, when I decided to commit to a 30-day yoga challenge, I had no idea that I’d still be doing daily yoga, today, in mid-April.
Back then, since I was freshly recovered from a mild case of COVID, I had no idea what to expect from my body. Yoga had been on the backburner while I was sick. Plus, I’d never practiced more than a few days consecutively before. Was I really going to be able to do yoga every day for 30 days?
Well, I did. And, surprisingly, it wasn’t as difficult as I made it out to be in my mind. I enjoyed my daily practice so much that I decided to keep the habit going into February, then March, and now April.
In today’s post, I’ll share four tips to help you stay consistent with a daily yoga practice. If you are a mom who is interested in developing this amazingly beneficial self-care habit, keep reading to learn what I found helpful to me. Of course, I don’t claim to be an expert in daily yoga just because I’ve been doing this for a few months. However, my hope is that sharing the things I’ve done to help me remain consistent can help you feel less intimidated.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Be flexible
Okay, so I don’t mean you need to literally “be flexible” (that will come the more often you practice yoga (*wink*)). What I mean to say is that it’s important that you understand this: to be successful with daily yoga, you have to be flexible with when and how you practice.
As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve found that there is no set time of the day that works for practicing yoga all of the time.
Most days, I practice in my bedroom, after 8 pm when my three girls are down for the evening (my teenage son is usually doing his own thing in the evening so I’m off the hook there, too).
(Side note: My husband understands that I developed this habit of evening “me time” when he was working away from home and he’s respected my decision to continue using some of my evening for that. Once I’ve completed my evening routine, I’ll rejoin my husband for some time together to close out our day.)
But, evening yoga isn’t always the case. There are days when, due to the type of yoga (energizing) or number of minutes, I’ll choose to find another part of the day to practice. For instance, if my yoga is 45 minutes or longer, I’ll try and do that practice during nap time. Or when sooner, even if that means my two-year-old is in the same room with me (she’s usually really good about leaving me alone).
Do I prefer not to keep an eye on my toddler while in downward dog? Absolutely! But, sometimes, it’s just better for me to get yoga done earlier in the day – however imperfect – than for me to allow it to hog up my entire evening (or worse – risk scratching yoga off entirely if I’m feeling too tired).
You don’t need to only do yoga in the morning or only at night. Be flexible with when you squeeze it into your days.
Tip #2: Use a yoga calendar
Prior to this year, I’d never used a yoga calendar before. I would just search for a video on YouTube (usually from Sarah Beth Yoga or Yoga with Adriene). I would select whatever video I felt was relevant for how I was feeling and I’d do that.
This meant that I’d never really know how long I’d practice (until last minute) and it meant spending extra time finding the right video. And, honestly, it meant I hardly ever did practices that were longer than 20 minutes.
After following a yoga calendar in January for my 30 days of Breath, I knew that I wanted to keep following a calendar. It’s made practicing yoga daily practically effortless in the sense that I don’t have to think about what I’ll do today. All I need to do is show up to my mat. Plus, calendars created by yoga instructors tend to follow a structure that builds from the day before, making them great ways to achieve a specific goal (like strengthening your abs).
I don’t know about you, but it sounds amazing to me to know that by using a yoga calendar designed to (sticking with the example above) strengthen my abs I can work on my core every day without thinking about how. Plus, I know that I’ll always do something different than the day before, which means I won’t get bored. Sign. Me. Up. (Seriously, though, I wish I’d signed up to the whole yoga calendar game sooner.)
Tip #3: Schedule yoga into your planner
Anytime you’re establishing a new habit or routine, like daily yoga, scheduling it into your planner just like you would an appointment is a great way of helping keep you on track.
The way that I plan, I don’t time block. So for planning my yoga, I don’t put down the time slots for when I’ll practice. Instead, I write down how many minutes that day’s practice will be, using my yoga calendar as my reference. (I also print out my yoga calendar for the month and tape it to my bedroom mirror and refer to it each week.) When I’m planning my week, having the details of how long I need to practice yoga helps me make sure I accommodate for it. Plus, seeing it alongside my other plans allows me to better map out my day’s plans.
For example, today’s practice is only five minutes long so I can squeeze that in pretty much anytime I want. However, tomorrow’s practice is a twenty-minute morning session so I’ll need to make sure I carve out time during the first half of my day rather than wait until evening. This means that tomorrow evening will be freer than usual (more time with my hubby) and that any chores I plan for tomorrow need to wait until I do my yoga (or else I’ll likely get sucked into the rabbit hole of cleaning and forget about morning yoga).
Tip #4: Make adjustments as needed
Of course, things happen and you’ll need to adjust on the fly. There have been times when I’ve forgotten to practice a morning routine early and had to do it at night. Oops. Or I’ve had to swap calendar days because I don’t want to do an hour-long, high-energy practice on the very first day of my menstrual cycle (yin yoga only, please!). Heck, once I accidentally repeated a video two weeks after watching it the first time instead of doing the video assigned to that day (*facepalm*). (Was I upset when I noticed? Uh, yes, but yoga is yoga and I brushed it off as the universe deciding that I really needed to repeat that practice.)
If you can only practice five minutes every day for a whole week because of all the other plans happening, so what? Yoga is yoga, I don’t care how long I practice.
Go wild and create your own calendar if you want to by making a playlist on YouTube. Find all the short five to ten-minute videos (trust me there are plenty) and do that for an entire week, month, year! Bottom line: your practice is your practice. Feel free to adjust, delete, swap, whatever you want to make it work for you.
You can practice yoga. every. damn. day.
To recap, here are my four tips to help you stay consistent with your daily yoga practice:
- be flexible (with what time of day you practice)
- use a yoga calendar (so you don’t have to constantly figure out what to do)
- schedule your daily yoga time into your planner (you do own one of those, right? if not, use your phone calendar to set reminder alerts)
- feel free to make adjustments as needed (swap days, substitute long practices for shorter ones, etc.)
I could write an entire post just on the benefits of daily yoga (and I probably will at some point), but for now, I will say that practicing daily has given me “me time” I look forward to.
Even if I’m practicing with my toddler in the room, I feel more in control of my days just by getting my daily yoga done, just by showing up to my mat. It hardly feels like a chore and has been a wonderful, proactive tool for helping with stress management.
I hope that by sharing my tips today you feel inspired and motivated to try daily yoga for stress management, too.
Love & light,
PS If you need some help with yoga calendars, Yoga with Adriene has free calendars on her website here. If you’re looking for something different (perhaps a yoga instructor with a more zen energy), I’ve been enjoying the Slow Down calendar from Sarah Beth Yoga, but it’s only available through her paid membership (currently $29 per month). If you’re totally new to yoga, you might enjoy Sarah’s beginner yoga challenge, which is a 7-day calendar and includes a 7-day trial for her app and membership so you can poke around and see all that she has there.
*This post isn’t sponsored. None of the links here are affiliate links. I’m just sharing what I’ve used and enjoyed and hope that these resources will be helpful to you, too.