• How to Make Practicing Yoga Part of Your Daily Life

    I’ve practiced consistently 6 days a week for the past 6 months. I went from someone who hardly ever stepped on the mat to someone who makes time for practice every day. Here’s how I did it.

    Sometimes, even though you want to practice, you just don’t feel like it. It’s difficult to get out the yoga mat and even attempting a single sun salutation makes you feel tired. If you’ve experienced that, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too. You want to have a consistent yoga practice and start a yoga habit, but it’s hard.

    My practice hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. After injuring my shoulder, I struggled to get back on my yoga mat. Practicing regularly was the last thing I wanted to do, but after an extended break I realized I missed it.

    Starting an old habit up again wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Even though I knew how good my yoga practice made me feel getting back into the yoga habit was difficult, but with a bit of time I figured out how to get myself back into the habit of practicing.

    I’ve practiced consistently 6 days a week for the past 6 months. I went from someone who hardly ever stepped on the mat to someone who makes time for practice every day.

    Let’s look at the crucial steps I took to having a consistent yoga practice.

    Put yoga on your daily calendar

    The first step is to pencil in your yoga practice into your day. Just like you would an important meeting or dinner with friends. If you don’t have a time for it, you won’t do it.

    I understand that some days are busier than others, but try to at least put aside 5 minutes for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a long, elaborate yoga practice. You can do just one sun salutation.

    5 minutes of practice is better than no practice at all. Even if it’s just standing in mountain pose for a few moments, breathing, and truly being present. The key is to show up for yourself every day.

    Some people like to practice first thing in the morning, but if that’s not possible for you, find a time that works in your schedule. If you have to practice at night, that’s totally fine too.

    The important thing is that you make it a priority and put it on your calendar. Once it’s on there, treat it like any other appointment you can’t miss.

    Make having a consistent yoga practice easy

    Make it easy for yourself to practice. This means removing any obstacles that might stand in your way.

    For me, that means making sure my yoga mat and props are visible. They sit in the corner of my office and everything I see them I remember I need to practice.

    You could set up your yoga space so it is inviting and comfortable. You could choose what you want to wear to practice the day before and make sure everything you need is in one place.

    If you’re practicing at home, take a few minutes to set up your space before you begin. If you’re going to the studio, make sure you have your yoga mat and any other props you might need.

    You don’t want to be fumbling around looking for things when you could be practicing. The easier you make it on yourself, the more likely you are to actually do it.

    Set a realistic goal

    If you’re just starting out, your goal might be to practice 20 minutes a day.

    If you’ve been practicing for a while, your goal might be to practice longer. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that you can actually commit to.

    Don’t set a goal that’s too lofty or unrealistic because you’ll only end up feeling bad when you don’t reach it. Just set a simple, attainable goal that you know you can commit to.

    Find a yoga class or group

    There’s nothing like being part of a community of people who are all committed to their yoga practice.

    If you can’t find a class or group where you live, there are plenty of online yoga classes you can join. Omstars has more than 4,000 on-demand classes and daily live classes you can practice with. No matter what type of yoga you’re interested in or what level you’re currently at, you’ll find something here to meet your needs.

    I love taking this yoga class on days I don’t feel like practicing.

    The important thing is to find something that works for you and that you enjoy. If you don’t like the class you’re in, or the video you’re following, you’re not going to want to practice.

    So find something that you like and that feels good for your body. Then stick with it.

    Remember why you want to have a consistent yoga practice

    What is it about yoga that drew you in?

    For me, it was the way I felt after I practiced. I feel calmer, more centered, and more present.

    I also love the physical challenge of yoga. It’s a way for me to connect with my body in a new way.

    Whatever your reasons are, make sure you keep them at the forefront of your mind. Because when the going gets tough (and it will), these are the things that will motivate you to keep practicing.

    Practice regularly

    The more you do it, the easier it will become. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you won’t feel right if you don’t practice. Yoga will become such an important part of your day that skipping it won’t be an option for you. It will just be part of your daily routine – something you do without even thinking about it.

    But it all starts with taking that first step and making the commitment to practice regularly. So if you’re ready to make yoga part of your life, follow these steps and you’ll be on your way.

    By Lovelyn Bettison

    Lovelyn Bettison has been everything from a massage therapist to a life coach, but her life didn’t start falling into place until she decided to put all other pursuits aside and follow her childhood dream of being a writer. When she’s not doing copywriting for companies like Omstars, she writes scary stories about things that go bump in the dark. She also runs a pretty popular newsletter about all things spooky and supernatural. If you like that sort of thing, you really should click the link to download a free copy of her novella “A Haunting at Cabin Lake.”

    Click here to download your free novella.

    Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash

  • Yoga IS Worth It

    Here’s one thing that every student of yoga knows—yoga is hard but it’s worth it. Sometimes yoga is even painful but that’s part of the practice. It’s a good pain that eventually makes the body, mind, and spirit feel better.

    No effort is ever lost. This is true in yoga and also in life. Yoga is after all a practice that aims to improve the quality of life.

    People come to the yoga practice for all sorts of reasons. Some start yoga looking for physical benefits that range from flexibility to strength to pain relief to a better night’s sleep. Others come looking for emotional benefits like inner peace, reduced anxiety, balm for depression, and anger management. All these physical, emotional, and mental benefits sit within the larger context of yoga as a spiritual practice. It doesn’t matter if a student realizes the mind-body-spirit connection when they unroll their mat. Sooner or later the yoga practice works to build an inner bridge between these more subtle realms.

    Take a student who wants to practice three times a week to increase flexibility for other sports and activities. This student will often find yoga to be uniquely challenging with some classes providing nearly daunting sequences. Arm balances, backbends, deep twists, inversions, and forward folds ask a lot of the body. Teachers who have been practicing for many years often demonstrate these asanas with deceptive ease and flow. The new student often leaves with mixed feelings about yoga. They aren’t sure whether the practice is for them or not.

    Some dig in deeply and search for the perfect class for them. But, testing each class and each teacher is time-consuming. Some classes marked for beginners are way too easy and others are way too hard. Students increasingly practice online as an entry to the yoga tradition. But figuring out how to navigate the Netflix of yoga can be overwhelming. Not everyone is tech-savvy, after all. Class lengths for online streaming classes are variable. Some are one hour long and replicate the feeling of a sweaty in-person class. Others are a short 10 or 20 minutes designed to fit into a busy day. The longer class may seem like it’s a better value but it may then be harder to carve out the full hour. The shorter classes are often easy to procrastinate because the mind seems to always think those 10 to 20 minutes will be available at some mythic time “later”.

    Finding a yoga teacher isn’t always easy. It can be a little bit like finding a romantic partner. There has to be chemistry, accessibility, trust and respect. Without that, it’s hard for a student to keep coming back to class. There are many yoga teachers and places to practice yoga these days. Speaking from my place within this world of yoga, I recommend to all students searching for a teacher to seek a teacher who has the best training available. A great teacher is someone who has immersed themselves in the traditional yoga teaching from India and who understands not only the yoga poses but the deep, rich philosophical and spiritual practices of yoga. And of course, let it be someone who carries enough of that magic of inspiration to be a magnetic pull back to the mat, especially on days when doubt, indecision and quitting arise.

    Here’s one thing that every student of yoga knows—yoga is hard but it’s worth it. Sometimes yoga is even painful but that’s part of the practice. It’s a good pain that eventually makes the body, mind, and spirit feel better. There is a good deal of yoga philosophy that talks about tapas, the Sanskrit word that indicates a need to go through certain pains that purify along the path of yoga. This lesson is perhaps the key tenet of much yoga philosophy, that is, that some amount of suffering can be expected but that suffering is not in vain. Instead, whatever effort is put into the practice is never lost, but always accumulated along the long road towards peace and happiness.

    By Kino MacGregor

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga and 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga and practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram and over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube and Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world.

    To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center and experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, and ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone.

    Find on on Instagram here.

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  • A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

    So, you want to try yoga? As a beginner, it can be both overwhelming and intimidating to start. You don’t know where to begin and all the people practicing seem to fit a particular mold. Well, this beginner’s guide to yoga is designed to help you get started safely and find the tools you need to begin your own journey.

    What Time You Practice.

    Some basic things to think about are what time you practice, how often you practice, and how to choose a teacher. Practice is best done as a daily ritual, much like brushing your teeth. The body also responds to consistency with training. Choose a time that works for your schedule and then commit to that practice time for at least one full week, or ideally, one full month. Tradition yoga texts recommend to practice first thing in the morning, before breakfast and before the mind gets too stimulated.  However, if your best chance at consistency is to practice after work, at the end of the day, do that. In order to increase your likelihood of maintaining your practice, schedule “yoga” in your calendar and set a reminder five minutes before. Put on your yoga clothes as soon as you wake up in the morning. Studies show that just wearing your work-out clothes increases the likelihood of actually working out significantly.

    How Often You Practice.

    A big part of getting started is about taking the “shoulds and shouldn’ts” out of practice and really connecting to what feels right for your body, what works for your schedule and making conscious decisions that nourish your personal journey. At a minimum, I’d suggest to practice twice a week. But ideally it is recommended to practice six days a week. Five minutes a day six days a week is better than an hour once a week. The daily discipline makes a difference in how the practice integrates with your life.

    How to Choose a Teacher.

    Choosing a teacher or a class can be a big question. If you’re searching for a local teacher, find the most qualified well-trained teacher in your city and see if they offer beginner programs. if you don’t like the style of yoga that they teach after the course is over, try another studio. Remember, yogis are human beings. Don’t expect your teacher to be an enlightened master or a copy of the Buddha. They are people, just like you, who have been practicing and studying yoga for awhile. They have taken a few steps further on the yoga path than you have, but on a human-to-human level you’re equals. That being said, be open and hear what the teacher has to offer and be respectful while maintaining your personal boundaries.

    Joining a Yoga Challenge or Course is Another Way to Get Started.

    If you’re looking to start a beginner yoga program online, there are many offerings. A good way to start is with a program that takes you through a full 30 days of practice. It helps if the online system allows you to track your progress so that you can both hold yourself accountable and give yourself positive reinforcement for practice sessions completed. Just like searching for an in-person teacher, choosing the right online teacher requires a bit of research. Find the most qualified well-trained teacher whose style you connect with and see if they have a beginner yoga program. Joining a yoga challenge is another way to get started. When you’re practicing at home you’ll miss the feeling of community that you get at a yoga studio. But when you join a yoga challenge there is a virtual community of yoga that you connect with as you practice and share the experience together.

    You Don’t Need All the Gear to Start.

    You don’t need all the gear to start, especially if you’re practicing at home. If you have an area rug or carpeted floor you can just put on a pair of old sweatpants and a t-shirt and follow the videos. No one cares what you wear at most authentic yoga studios, but sometimes it just feels safer to start at home when you no know it’s just you and the practice. Try it out for a week or two and then if you fall in love with the practice, buy a mat.

    Allow Yourself to be Where You Are.

    Don’t expect to be good at yoga from your first class or even first 1,000 classes. If you think you need to be flexible and strong from the beginning then yoga will be utterly impossible. Instead, allow yourself to be where you are, which is at the beginning of your journey. In doing so you will learn your first lesson from the yoga practice—that is, how to be humble enough to admit the vulnerable truth that you’re a beginner. It doesn’t feel good to be the person in the room who seems not to know what pose to do, where to put your mat or have to modify all the poses. But, every single yoga practitioner has gone through just that. Even the master teachers whose practice seems to exist in an effortless gravity-free zone started off dazed and confused by even the most basic poses. When I first started the practice I couldn’t touch my toes in a forward bend, lift my body off the ground or say a single word in Sanskrit. Over twenty-years later and things look a lot different.

    You Don’t Need to be Particularly Good At Yoga To Experience the Deep Benefits of the Practice.

    It takes time. If you think yoga will be a panacea for all your life’s problems within your first class, you will be disillusioned. But if you commit to at least a month of consistent practice, somewhere between three to six days per week you will start to experience some small shifts that act like a beacon for the path ahead. You don’t need to be particularly good at yoga to experience the deep benefits of the practice. You just need to show up on your mat and try. It takes at least a year of practice before you will start to notice substantial life changes. Commit to the practice for the long haul and the practice will lead you down the rabbit hole of personal transformation, the end of which brings your life more peace, happiness and joy. That’s the promise that yoga makes to every single practitioner. All you have to do is keep practicing and put in the work.

    Expect to be Sore.

    Expect to be sore. I still remember the morning after my first yoga class. During and immediately after the session I felt amazing. My mind was calm in a way that I hadn’t known possible and my body felt light and free. The next morning, however, I could barely walk. My hamstring muscles were so sore and achy that I could hardly move at first. I started off practicing two days a week. That lasted for about four months before I jumped into a six day a week practice. Each time I increased the frequency, length or intensity of my practice I got sore in new places. A healthy dose of muscular soreness that leads to increased strength and flexibility is part of the practice of yoga. Twenty-years later and I’m still sore!

    There is No End to the Journey.

    Think about yoga as a slow steady progression towards a more mobile body, a happier and more peaceful life. The more you give to the practice, the more it gives back to you. There is no end to the journey, just more steps to lead deeper down to center of yourself. Much more than just a bunch of poses, stretches and power moves, yoga is a true spiritual path that opens the door to deep life learning. At first you may not make the connection between body, mind and soul, but that’s ok, that’s why you’re here on the mat and why you want to start yoga. Whether you’re interested in beginning yoga because you want to heal your body, relieve chronic pain, decrease anxiety, lift depression, manage your temper, or whether you’re on a spiritual quest from the beginning, the practice can be for you. All it takes is that you show up, unroll your mat and practice every day you can.

    Ready to get started with yoga?

    Learn More About Kino’s NEW 5-Week Online Beginner Course today!!

    Over one full month, you will get fully established in your yoga journey. Build up from the basics of yoga poses and learn healthy anatomical technique to be sure your body is safe. Calm your nervous system with breathing techniques and meditations that you will return to over and over again. Learn the basics of yoga philosophy and be happier and more peaceful right after your first class.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Why do you practice yoga? Kino Macgregor Ashtanga Yoga teacher, OMstars

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone.