We all have our reasons to show up on the mat but somehow, it is just so bloody hard sometimes! “Which class to catch? How can I get away from work? The kitchen? The kids?” or, what I hear the most: “Will I ever be able to do this?”
On the other hand, we may have also noticed that people who already managed to build a regular practice into their schedule somehow seem more relaxed about everything else they do. The “rush” seems to mellow, some even claim they become more efficient at work, or feel to be a better parent, more patient partner.
Building a new commitment, finding discipline and new priorities—it really is a challenging step.
One of my teachers always starts his class like this: “Congratulations on showing up. The hardest part is now over.”
Here is what I learned and observed to be supportive of building commitment to your mat. These are six things you can do RIGHT NOW to get closer to all the amazing benefits yoga offers…one class at a time.
1. Make 21 dates and show up for YOU. It takes 21 repetitions for a new habit to form. Get out your calendar and schedule 21 yoga classes. These are your dates with yourself, the most important person in the world.
When you are the shining star (centred monk, peaceful warrior) you were born to be, you serve the world around you better.
Make your schedule sustainable, start with something easy—for example: once or twice a week. It feels better to ADD to this schedule once your habit is strong and you just can’t wait to get back on your mat, rather then beating yourself up about not showing up five times a week. Make it sustainable. Be kind to yourself.
2. Find a yoga buddy.Driving to and from yoga with a friend makes things so much easier. Having someone to keep you accountable, someone to share your passion with, and discuss your experience with is a great support to create a new habit. Your friends want the best for you, and you want the best for your friends. So share your time doing something as beneficial as becoming your own best selves together through yoga.
3. Get your own yoga mat.This is probably the “easiest” part of the deal as far as commitment is involved. Leave your mat by the door every day or in your car. In a few weeks you will know why.
4. Pay full price for your membership.Studies show that we show more appreciation for things we pay full price for. By always seeking a deal, what you are telling yourself is “OK, if I don’t get anything out of this at least I didn’t lose a lots of money.” In other words, you are setting yourself up for failure. Value your energy. You are worth it.
Your investment will also change your priorities. Less fancy coffee, more silent meaningful moments in health and peace.
5. Visualize the result of your regular yoga practice.Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. WHY are you committing to your yoga practice? (Healthier back? More mobility? Deeper sense of peace? To sleep better? Let go of depression?)
What is YOUR reason? See it clear, and imagine it’s already yours. It happened. You are done. You are there. Now hang on to that picture and don’t let it go. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
6.Talk about your commitment in past tense.Watch your language. Repeating words like “I really want to start practicing yoga, but…” will keep the action of actually “going” in the future. Replace it with: “I have committed to practice yoga.”
Remember: we already know yoga is good for us. We are now working on building it into our life. Accept that the bond has been made already, and our only job now is to show up…for US. The most important person in our life.
There will be a time in every practitioner’s life when showing up to the mat is not a question anymore. I believe this, because I have seen it so many times. My heroes are men and women of dedication and perseverance.
For me, showing up on my mat daily is as important as brushing my teeth in the morning. My practice keeps me grounded, centred and still.
Imagine you are a scuba diver.When you first dive into the ocean, the waves will push you in every direction. Floating is hard, and it surely takes a lot of effort. But with practice, you learn to dive deeper. The deeper you are floating, you become more motionless and less effort is necessary.
From here, those superficial, surface waves will not bother you anymore. You are deeper then they are. Just look up at the ocean of your mind and you will see either “This is a sunny day up here” or”Today is very stormy” but the place where YOU are is still—untouched by the weather and the superficial changes of life.
I hope you will keep trying to dive deeper. I’m on the journey with you and therefore I’m grateful.
“I believe in our ability to live an amazing life. Our choices shape our schedule, our body, our destiny. Choose well and enjoy the ride. "