How One Simple Trick Helped Me Build a Consistent Yoga Habit
It’s been about a month now since I started doing yoga first thing in the morning.
And I’m loving it.
In fact, I reckon it’s one of the best habits I’ve ever created for myself, with both physical and mental benefits. I won’t go on too long about this, since I’m sure you’re aware of these already, but after practising regularly for just a month, I’m now a firm proponent of yoga and very happy to call myself a yogi.
This wasn’t my first attempt at building a yoga habit though, and I’ve tried my fair share of 30-day challenges, group classes, and resolution-making (“I will do yoga every day…starting tomorrow”).
So how did this time end up so different?
I found ONE sequence I loved and stuck with it.
Yup, just ONE.
Why Just One?
I know this is a bit of an unconventional method, but rather than completing a YouTube yoga series or 30-day challenge, I really did choose just one video and stuck with it.
Hear me out on this: whenever I tried 30-day challenges or similar as a beginner yogi, I’d have the semi-deflating feeling of starting all over again with each day and each new video.
And while I did notice progress overall, my practice would constantly be riddled with new (and sometimes very difficult) transitions and unfamiliar poses. This meant I was constantly craning my neck to look at the screen mid-pose, or even worse — stopping completely to check the video, losing the precious state of flow I had achieved to that point.
By choosing just one sequence to focus on instead, I was able to tangibly measure and feel my progress.
Transitions felt smoother, and the poses more open. I was also able to focus on aligning my movement with my breath, an aspect of yoga that had previously been elusive to me as I struggled with the physicality of the poses.
Here’s the video I chose that helped me do this:
By doing this 20-minute sequence each morning, I felt my strength and stability build, while my appreciation for yoga skyrocketed. And by having this sequence on repeat each day, yoga became a familiar friend to me and all my former excuses (“I don’t have to do it EVERY day…”) lost their convincing grip.
I’m not saying to stick with one yoga sequence forever, but I AM saying that familiarity helped me to build confidence in my practice while creating a daily habit that got easier and more automatic over time.
Automating any habit is vital for long-term consistency. Having just one sequence to get to know, rather than yoga-information-overload, made yoga easier to practice, more automatic, and effortlessly enjoyable with each day.
Finding ‘The One’
I get it, commitment can be scary and, with so many yoga videos and classes online, committing to one flow can feel like you’re missing out. From my experience though, it’s been so worth it.
Here are some things I considered when choosing ‘the one’:
- Are there different options available for varying levels of ability?
The video I chose had a few easier options available for the most difficult pose. That way, I could start easy, and build up as I gained strength and became more familiar with the sequence.
- How long is the sequence?
20 minutes was a good amount of time for me to commit to in the morning. Not too short that it becomes insignificant, but not so long that it seems daunting.
- Which body areas are targeted?
I wanted an all-round sequence that involved some upper and lower body poses but wasn’t too difficult overall.
- Does it feel good?
Yoga should never be painful. The video I chose had the perfect mix of stretches and strength work for me as a beginner. Practicing it left me refreshed and energised each time.
I took the time to find a flow that spoke to me and felt right with my body, then got to know it as a friend over a few weeks. After building my strength, flexibility and consistency with one sequence over the last month, I’m no longer a beginner.
And as a result, I’m more confident and excited to continue diversifying my practice long into the future.