Our yoga practice can be that one thing we do every day that makes us feel better.
Both physically and mentally.
And yet, as much as we love this practice, we go through phases of struggling to find motivation.
If this is something you are feeling, know that you are not alone. It is not uncommon to go through such phases. The main obstacles to our yoga practice tend to be the feeling of being:
- Too tired
- Too busy or overwhelmed
- Lack of a suitable space
- Sick or injured
- Don’t know where to start
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, then know that these are the main reasons that keep me away from my mat, and these are also the main reasons my students tell me why they stop coming to my classes.
Motivation is what helps us step on our yoga mat and keep up a regular practice. But it’s not easy.
“Don’t stop until you’re proud”
Knowing how to motivate yourself can help you accomplish anything you set your mind to, so let’s get to that next.
Tapas, which is one of the five Niyamas from Patanjali’s 8 limbs, means discipline.
And this concept refers to the ability to do what we know is good for us, even if we are lacking the motivation. It means trying to overcome any laziness we may be feeling, getting up, and stepping on our yoga mat, even if we don’t feel like doing it.
Yoga tip: A yoga journal may be a helpful tool to find motivation. Journals help us create goals and they help us understand what we want to accomplish that day or even that year. If you are looking for such a journal to guide and motivate you in your yoga practice, check out the top yoga journals on Amazon.com now.
Some days it may be easier to find the motivation and others it may be a struggle.
You may like my YouTube video where I share some extra tips on finding motivation for your yoga practice:
And so if you are looking for some inspiration or some tips to help you find your lost motivation, these 15 ways that may help you find your yoga mojo.
15 Ways To Find Yoga Motivation
1. Adjust your way of thinking
Especially when we practice yoga at home, we may think about all the more important things we could be doing. For example send that email, pick up the dry cleaning… The list can be endless! Instead, try to see your yoga practice as your time. Your special time to move with your breath and recharge.
Another thing to consider is something I once heard a teacher say.
“The hardest bit is stepping on the mat”. Once you are on your mat, you are already halfway there. Whether you do a long practice or simply sit and breathe quietly, see it as a small victory.
2. Keep it short and sweet
Ten minutes of silent sitting or doing sun salutations is itself a short and sweet practice. And so if that is all you have the time and energy for, then that is perfect. The key is to try to do this consistently, regardless of the time your practice takes you. With time you may crave more.
There are days when my energy levels are very low, so I may even just lie on my mat with my feet up the wall. And that’s ok.
Then there are days when I have incredible amounts of energy so I may do my full 60 or 90-minute practice. And that is also ok.
With time we learn to listen to our bodies and our needs are trying to cater to them. No guilt, no regret. Just do what feels right for you.
In Ashtanga Yoga – The Practice Manual, which is the very first yoga book I ever bought, David Swenson has included the Short Forms of Ashtanga. These are 3 short forms of practice, which are 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45-minute versions of the Ashtanga yoga practice.
He went on to explain the benefits of creating shorter practices:
Take pleasure in your practice. It is good to finish a session and be looking forward to the next one, rather than making our practice so difficult that we create a loathsome duty of it.David Swenson, Ashtanga Yoga – The Practice Manual
3. Be kind to yourself
When we practice yoga and sometimes even before practicing we tend to have a little internal dialogue going on. Sound familiar? We are there pushing ourselves, trying to find the motivation to step on the mat, to do the next pose, to not give up. And often we are not particularly nice to ourselves.
And so a key part of finding our yoga motivation is to talk yourself into doing your practice and then keeping it going. And in all of that feel proud of yourself for even just stepping on to the mat and making that commitment.
I know it’s hard.
But try to change the voice in your head to one that is your biggest fan, your cheerleader, there to cheer you on this journey.
4. Find inspiring videos on YouTube
Nowadays there are hundreds if not thousands of free yoga YouTube videos to try out. There are those for complete yoga beginners and those for more advanced practitioners. Spend some time on YoutTube and you are sure to find a teacher and a yoga class that you look forward to practicing.
Yoga videos on YouTube range from just 5 minutes to over an hour long. Some are soft and gentle yin yoga practices and some are more dynamic vinyasa flow classes. There really is something for everyone.
If you are looking for inspiration on yoga teachers or yoga classes on YouTube, you may like my article: The 10 Best & Most Loved Yoga Videos On YouTube in 2020
5. Create a routine
Having a yoga practice routine helps make it part of your lifestyle. And so I try to plan the days and time si will practice and then plan my day around that. For example, when I aim to practice in the morning, I have a coffee and eat something light enough to give me energy for the practice.
6. Change location
If you practice at home and are looking for some motivation, then perhaps change the room you practice in. Similarly, if you practice in a yoga studio and seem to struggle to find the motivation to go to class, then try changing yoga studios. Perhaps a small change like this may do wonders.
7. Prioritize your practice
When we practice yoga consistently, we get to experience all the benefits of the practice. We tend to get lost in our daily lives and forget to prioritize our needs until it is sometimes too late. And so try to put yourself first, and with that, try to put your yoga practice first.
When you practice yoga once a week, you change your mind. When you practice yoga twice a week you change your body. When you practice yoga every day it will change your life.
Stress seems to be one of the main reasons that come to yoga. And so if you would like to find out about how consistent yoga can help reduce stress, read my article: 12 Reasons Yoga Is Calming & How It Reduces Stress (Science-Based)
8. Travel to a teacher
Having an experienced yoga teacher we respect can really help us not only with our practice but it can also help motivate us to practice. It helps us fine-tune elements of the practice we may need help with, and it also helps us connect with a community, which by itself is also a motivating factor.
I practice alone and so I make a point of traveling to my teachers once a year when possible. I have three teachers that I absolutely love and feel lucky to have guided me along my yoga journey.
When I can I travel to them and as they are all very different teachers and have a very different approach to the practice, I feel I get a well-rounded ‘calibration’ from each trip.
Your teachers may be in their yoga studio or even better, they may be teaching a workshop or a yoga retreat. Both are extremely wonderful valuable experiences.
For more information on yoga retreats, you may like my article: 30 Reasons To Go On A Yoga Retreat
9. Make it a habit
Turning your yoga practice into a habit and having a set time for your practice will help make it part of your lifestyle. Whether you choose to practice in the morning, during the day, or in the evening, by having a routine and sticking to it, it will be easier to find the motivation to practice.
Something that could help is to stick to the same routine you would have when you practice at your studio. This, of course, applies to those who are also able to practice in a studio.
10. Trick yourself
This is a little trick I sometimes try out. I tell myself I will only do a short practice. Just 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes if I want to do more, then it worked and I feel proud of myself. If I feel like the 10 minutes was enough, I still feel proud of myself as I was able to achieve my goal.
In yoga, we sometimes think in an all-or-nothing attitude. And yet, there is so much more to it than that. It is better to do a short practice every day, than do a long 90-minute practice just one day.
11. Be smart about what you practice
There are many types of yoga to choose from. Some are calming and grounding like yin yoga while others are more dynamic like Ashtanga yoga. It is worth trying them all out to see what you prefer. You may like a calming practice one day and a more physically demanding practice the other.
For more information on the different types of yoga have a look at my article: Beginner’s Guide To The Popular Types Of Yoga And Their Benefits
If you are lucky enough to have a yoga studio near you, then try out different classes, and if possible, with different teachers. This will give you an idea of each type of yoga.
And then at home, you can practice a more dynamic class when your energy levels are high and perhaps a more gently Yin yoga class when you feel like a calm and grounding yoga class.
12. Create a yoga practice space
If you have a local studio you love then that’s perfect! If you are a home practitioner, create a space that is spacious enough to fit your yoga mat. You ideally want it to feel inviting and clutter-free to minimize any distractions. This space can be as small as it may be. You could also add a candle or a piece of artwork to make it more special.
Try to remove any distractions, especially mobile phones. Move them to another room for the duration of your practice. Or at least turn it on flight mode or put it on silent so as to minimize distractions.
13. Find time to study
Yoga is so much more than a physical practice. And so by studying more about yoga, you will begin to understand the deeper parts and intentions of the practice. This will make it easier for you to understand how it works, which in turn will give you the motivation you may need to practice.
If you would like to find out about yoga, have a look at this article: 25 Of The Best Yoga Books Every Yogi Will Love
15. Eat healthy food to fuel your practice
Something that has helped me find motivation in my yoga practice is eating healthy food. This may seem like the foundation of having the energy for your practice. And it can also become part of your ritual. Take the time to prepare healthy food and then take the time to enjoy your practice.
This is something I realized on yoga retreats, where you get to eat healthy and nutritious food and you seem to have an abundant amount of energy for the practice. And so why not bring this into your everyday life?
At the weekend try to look for recipes that are healthy, and that perhaps you have always wanted to try. Buy organic if possible, fresh. Your body will thank you for it!
And so if you practice yoga in the morning, make that breakfast smoothie you always wished you had the time to make. For lunch, make that delicious meal you once saw. For dinner, prepare a healthy soup and savor every spoonful.
For more information on what to eat, have a look at my article: What to Eat Before and After Yoga (Plus Yummy Recipes)