Kat Farrants, Founder of MFML, and daily practitioner of ten minutes of yoga in her PJ’s, shares her top tips for yoga motivation
You know you want to be the kind of person who practices yoga every day, who has all the yoga motivation in the world – you know that it makes you feel amazing. But getting the motivation to get on the mat really isn’t easy.
I routinely have people ask me how on earth I have the discipline to do yoga all on my own, at home. People say that they find it much easier to get to a studio class, which involves the travel to and from the class, and then a long perhaps 60- 90 minute session. Which is apparently easier than just rolling out the mat for ten minutes at home every day.
For me, I just can’t spend half my day traveling to and from a yoga studio and doing a long practice. It isn’t sustainable for me on any kind of a regular basis. The evidence shows, there’s tons more benefit in doing yoga every day, even for a very short period, than once a week for a long session. There just seems to be so many folks who can’t trust themselves to roll out their mats every day, so instead they tell me that home yoga isn’t for them.
‘There’s tons more benefit in doing yoga every day, even for a very short period, than once a week for a long session‘
Home yoga has a host of benefits:
- You can practice in your Pj’s
- You save all the travel time (and money!)
- You have your own space.
- You can press pause
- You can hand select your class, teacher, and time frame each and every day.
The question is… how to self motivate and actually do your daily yoga practice???
How to find the Motivation to do daily Yoga:
- Be the kind of person who practices yoga every day!
- Think small. Just roll out your mat. That is enough for now.
- Just breathe. That is the most important yoga you can do.
- Stick with 10 minutes – 10 minutes is plenty to transform your day.
- Segway your new habit onto old habits.
- Do what feels good to you. Your body. Your practice.
- Notice how your body and mind feels before and after practice, the effect of yoga can be huge!
Be the Kind of Person who Practices Yoga Everyday
When you’re getting a new habit underway, James Clear identified in Atomic Habits, the secret is to really identify your identity.
What kind of person are you? Are the the person who practices yoga every day? If you believe you are that person, and you want to be that person, that’s at least halfway there to being that person!
Just believe you ARE the kind of person who is motivated to do yoga every day. Simple! Then you are free to go ahead and be that person.
Don’t even think about smashing out an hour’s class every day. Yes, in time, maybe you’re the kind of person who does practice yoga for an hour each day at 5am. In which case, that’s just amazing. But for now, honestly, just think about rolling out your mat. That seems crazy, and counter-intuitive. But seriously, it’s been proven, again, thanks James Clear in Atomic Habits for really giving us the evidence for this, the key to creating a permanent change to your life and creating a habit that really will be sustainable, is to think as small as possible.
For today, and yes, for the next 21 days, just roll out your mat every single day.
Your practice might start out with simply sitting and breathing. This in itself is such a beneficial practice.
After a car accident that left me in recovery for a long time, I simply practiced breath work and it was very profound for me. My yoga practice was just breathing.
If the idea of a regular movement practice feels daunting you can start by setting 10 minutes aside to roll out your mat and breathe (try our short 10 minute breathing practices). This will help with building the foundations of a new habit and also has lots of physical and mental health benefits too.
Stick with 10 minutes
Ok so you start with simply rolling our your mat. You do 5 minutes for the first 21 days. Then you’ll be raring to go and we can extend our practice to 10 minutes. At this point we will be full of yoga motivation!
What I personally love to do is to do little micro-practices throughout the day. We’ve got plenty of Under 10 Minute Classes. My favourite is after a short 10 minute meditation, is a 10 minute morning wake up class.
Later in the day I pick a short work-break class to re-energise me and motivate me to get on with my work for the afternoon.
The Work Break Course – Make your work break time to recharge, take a breath and give you the energy to continue with a busy day at work. The classes in this collection can be done in any order and you can do them anywhere.
And finally I end the day with a 10 minute calming practice to wind-down and calm down before bed.
So you see, I’m actually getting in a fair deal of conscious movement and breathing. But I never have that scary thing of setting an hour aside. But 10 minutes? Well, that’s easy, and is pretty much the time it takes to doom-scroll when I’m procrastinating about ‘should I get up’ or ‘should I get to bed’ or ‘should I get a coffee’. It I have the time to scroll, it’s time to roll out the mat.
Segway your habit into other habits
The key to motivate yourself to do yoga every day is to not think about doing yoga every day.
It needs to be like brushing your teeth. You don’t think about that, you just get on and do it. So it is with a daily yoga practice. The key to yoga motivation is to just get on with it, and segway this new habit, for now, the habit of rolling out your mat every day, into old habits.
How to do that? Well, for example, every morning, the first thing I do is put the kettle on to grab a hot drink. So what I now do after getting my hot drink is to roll out my mat. Just tag one habit onto another habit!
Do what feels good to you
We often have in our head really unhelpful cultural stories about what we should do. Stories about the kind of yoga that the latest celebrities are doing, the newest kind of yoga to hit town. We’ve seen instagram showing all kinds of strange yoga. Should we be doing that?
The answer to getting the motivation to do yoga every day is to just do what feels good to you. Maybe you are feeling sleepy in the morning so feel free to wake up gently, roll around on the floor for a bit, do some somatic movement. If you’re wanting to really get strong and energise, there’s Barre classes ready for you. If it’s a calming, re-balancing work break you’re after, why not try some Qigong? Looking for something before bed and calming? Try the Restorative, Yin yoga or special sleep well routines to guide you to deeper rest.
The answer to getting the motivation to do yoga every day is to just do what feels good to you.Kat Farrants
Take time to notice the difference
One way of staying motivated to do yoga every day is to notice the difference in your body and mind when you take a few minutes to do your practices. Keep your yoga motivation going by acknowledging how you feel.
After you roll out your mat, take a conscious, deep breath, and ask yourself, how am I feeling? In your body and in your mind. Then, just before you put your mat back again, just sit, breathe in and out and on your exhale feel what you feel in your body and mind.
Does your daily yoga practice make you feel more positive, stronger, more focused, more energetic, more excited for life, helps you to sleep better, yes? Does it helps to ward away feelings of stagnation, listlessness and sleeplessness?
You manage to brush your teeth twice daily to ward away tooth decay, this is a discipline that’s been instilled in you from childhood. Yoga is, in my mind, just another discipline. If you want to live a fuller, better life – you really can’t short-circuit, you have to get on the mat every day, even if just for a few minutes.
Don’t worry about journaling about it (although all well and good if you can!), don’t worry about judging how you feel or going through some story in your head about it. Just feel what you feel, and whatever arises for you today, at this moment, just thank that feeling and then get ready to move on with your day!
Be accountable. Rakhee Jasani, MFML teacher, believes that ‘accountability, motivation and nourishment are keys to understanding Yoga and its impact‘.
Tell someone your goals and have someone check in to see if you’re keeping up with them. Have a buddy who you go to virtual classes with and have a catch up after class to see how you’re feeling. Send each other class recommendations or maybe start a course at the same time.
Going on a journey together can make a huge difference to your motivation to show up and do your yoga practice.
It takes Effort to feel EffortlessnessZephyr Wildman
As my friend and fabulous Movement for Modern Life teacher Zephyr Wildman says ‘It takes Effort to feel Effortlessness’.
So just go ahead, set your alarm 5 minutes early and start using that muscle of discipline, and I guarantee that you’ll find the knock-on repercussions in life are way greater than just having a wonderful daily home practice.
Read more about staying motivated and having discipline:
- 4 Tips to Stay Motivated in your Yoga Practice – by Tracy Johnson
- How to make Self-Discipline your Friend – by Tracy Johnson
- Transformative Yoga – by Kat Farrants
- Build Healthy Habits: 5 Important Life Hacks – by Helen Krag