• 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

  • Finding a Yoga Home

    I was thirty-one when I plucked up the courage to walk into a yoga class studio to take a class. Because I was nervous I went early. As soon as I walked into the room I regretted that decision.

    My grandmother threw open the curtains, letting the morning light flood into the room. “Good morning world,” she’d call, her voice a singsong. This is how every morning would start when we spent the night at my grandmother’s house. My sister and I, still in our pajamas, would sit on the baby blue carpet eager to follow her instructions.

    I did my first downward dog poses on that blue carpet. We giggled our way through sun salutations. At the time, yoga was that funny exercise my grandmother did and that we did too when we spent nights at her house during summer vacation. When I became a teenager morning yoga with my grandmother stopped. She couldn’t wake me up in the morning anymore when I went to see her in the summer. I’d slink from beneath the sheets in the late early afternoon hours and run off to the beach with my cousins.

    The practice didn’t call to me again until I was in my early twenties and happened upon a woman teaching yoga on television. The first time I saw her I sat on the sofa and watched the class. The rail-thin woman with long blonde hair moved fluidly through a sequence of poses. There was something fascinating about her movements. I remembered those mornings with my grandmother and decided it was time to try practicing yoga again.

    In those days the instruction I received for my practice was limited to books and DVDs from the library and any programs I might be able to catch on the exercise station on TV.

    I was thirty-one when I plucked up the courage to walk into a yoga class studio to take a class. Because I was nervous I went early. As soon as I walked into the room I regretted that decision. Everyone else had shown up early, and I was the only brown face among them.

    I found a place for my mat and anxiously waited for the class to start. As I did I watched the people around me. Immediately one thing became very apparent to me that I didn’t have the right clothes or the right body to do yoga in a yoga studio. I felt drab in my faded leggings and tank top. I wasn’t fancy enough or thin enough.

    I enjoyed doing the yoga class itself, but I didn’t enjoy it any more than I did at home. So, I decided that live-in-person yoga classes weren’t for me.

    Since then I’ve been to in-person yoga classes maybe three times. Each time I’ve felt equally uncomfortable. Honestly, I don’t know when or if I will ever go to an in-person yoga class again. Frankly, at this point in my life, I don’t much feel like I need to. I found my yoga home online.

    The Benefits of Online Yoga Classes

    Practicing yoga online gives me access to a more diverse group of yoga teachers that I would have never even heard of if it weren’t for the internet.

    There are many different types of yoga and sometimes it’s hard to find a class that fits your needs, especially if you’re a yoga beginner. Online classes offer a variety of teachers and styles so you can find the perfect one for you. They’re an excellent solution for people who live in rural areas or who don’t have time to go to a studio.

    Practicing yoga online allows you to go at your own pace. If you’re not comfortable doing a headstand in class, you don’t have to feel pressure to do one. You can take your time and work up to the more challenging poses. Yoga is all about self-acceptance and there’s no need to feel embarrassed if you can’t do a pose yet.

    Online yoga classes are affordable. Plus, you get unlimited access to all the classes so you can switch things up if you get bored.

    I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time now. The diversity of teachers and styles keeps things interesting, and the affordability is great. If you’re looking for a way to start your yoga journey, or if you just can’t find the right class for you, I recommend giving online yoga a try. You won’t be disappointed!

    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, go to her website to download a free copy of her novella “A Haunting at Cabin Lake.

    Photo by Valentina Sotnikova on Unsplash

  • How to Start a Life-Changing Gratitude Practice

    “Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” – A.A. Milne


    American Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and this is the perfect time to think about what you’re grateful for in your life. You’ve probably read an article or heard some personal development guru talking about the importance of gratitude in the past. You might have even had your own practice before but let it drop off over time … or maybe you have a gratitude practice right now, but you want to make it a bit better. Well, this post is for you.

    There have been a variety of studies done on gratitude over the years, and they have shown that people who regularly move through the world with a grateful attitude exhibited a myriad of physical and psychological benefits, including:

    • uplifted mood
    • decreased anxiety
    • less chronic pain
    • improved sleep
    • greater sense of well-being
    • higher self-esteem
    • decreased feelings of envy and resentment

    It’s surprising that such a simple practice can do so much for you. If you don’t already have a gratitude practice, you can start one today by taking a few moments to either write down or even just think about some things that have happened to you today or some things that you have in your life that you are grateful for. The act of acknowledging the good you already have in your life will bring those things into focus for you. What your mind focuses on multiplies in your life because of something in our minds called the reticular activating system.

    This complex network of nerves in your brain helps filter information for you. In reality, there is so much going on in the world around us that we could never take it all in and still function. So our brain filters through all of the input we’re constantly getting to make sure we pay attention to the important information. When you make an effort to focus on a particular thing, your brain recognizes that thing is important and will help you find more of it in the world around you.

    Often people use the example of a car when they talk about this. Let’s say that you buy a red Jeep Wrangler. Before you bought your Jeep, you didn’t even notice any others around you. Now that you own one, you keep seeing red Jeeps everywhere you go. That’s because red Jeeps have become important to you, and your brain is seeing them everywhere. That is how gratitude works also.

    When you focus your mind on something that you’re grateful for, you will notice more things around you to be grateful for. It’s the same system at work. Because you’re making a point to recognize the good around you, your brain looks for more of it.

    The same can happen in the opposite way. If you’re in the habit of complaining or feeling jealousy or envy, you will be able to easily pick out more and more things to feel jealous about in your life. Your brain will focus on what you don’t have. You’ll end up in an unconscious cycle of constantly looking for things to be jealous of.

    Let me give you an example from my personal life. I’ve never had a lot of money. In fact, you could most definitely say that it’s been quite the opposite in my life. I don’t have a fancy house or fancy car. I don’t eat in restaurants very often. Most months, we’re barely scraping by.

    There was a time in my life when this really bothered me. I might even say that I felt ashamed of this fact. I thought my lack of financial abundance, as they say, meant that I was worth less. I thought it meant there was something wrong with me. I looked at other people around me who went on vacations and had fancy things and I was jealous of them. I thought they were better than me. These feelings made my life sad. I struggled a lot to figure out what I could do to have that kind of financial success. That made me depressed and ashamed. It’s no fun to walk through your life feeling those emotions.

    Then I realized something very important that changed everything. I realized that I had many things in my life to be grateful for. And acknowledging this isn’t about saying to yourself, “I have this and that person doesn’t have it so that makes me better.” The practice of gratitude has nothing to do with a comparison between you and someone else. The practice of gratitude is only about you.

    I realized that when I stripped away all of the financial desires and just looked at my day-to-day life, I had built the life I’d always wanted. I have a family who loves me. I have a beautiful permaculture backyard where I grow a lot of my own food. I get to spend my days doing what I love. I have my health and, in many ways, am blessed.

    When I began to recognize that, my life got progressively better. My financial woes didn’t magically disappear but I worried about them less.

    Practicing gratitude is not magic. It will not solve all your problems, but it will greatly improve your quality of life and state of mind so you can tackle your problems from a good place.

    How do you practice gratitude?

    It’s not complicated really. Some people like to write down a few things they’re thankful for every day. It’s a good way to end your day.

    You can take some time to write them down if you like, but you don’t really have to. You only have to acknowledge them. As you get into the habit of doing this regularly, try to make a game of it and feel gratitude for different things every day. That puts you in the mindset throughout the day of noticing more of the good around you.

    There is one very important thing you can do to make your gratitude practice more effective. When you think about what you’re grateful for, try your best to go back into the moment. I like to close my eyes, take a deep breath and focus on that one event or person or moment. If you take yourself back there and let yourself truly feel love and gratitude welling up inside of you, you’ll make your practice much more impactful. Doing so turns what can because a rote exercise of writing down a few good things in your life into a deeply emotional practice.

    You see, we are emotional beings. Even those of us who claim not to be are emotional. If you tap into your deepest feelings, you’ll affect your life on a much more profound level than you would if you only practiced gratitude superficially. Allowing yourself to feel deep gratitude will make you more aware of the beauty, love, and joy this world has to offer.

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I asked the Omstars team what they’re thankful for this year. Here are some of the responses they gave.

    Kino: Gratitude is a daily practice of mine. When I wake up in the morning and when I fall asleep at night I think of all the things I’m thankful for. Here are a few that frequently make the list—community, family, living on the beach, fresh coconuts, spiritual learning, yoga, meditation, mangos, sunshine, laughter, forgiveness, kindness, and love.

    Tatiana: This year I’m thankful for the ability and wisdom to be thankful. Full stop. And to have the space in my mind and heart to appreciate and feel deep gratitude for things I may have otherwise taken for granted in my younger years.

    Karyn: I’m grateful for my family, friends, my yoga teachers, and my yoga practice. I’m also grateful to be part of the Omstars team.

    Gabi: There are so many things I am grateful for this year: friends, family, the OmStars community, my personal yoga practice, and so much more. But most of all, I have found myself feeling gratitude for life and the present moment. I am grateful to be able to live the life I am living, right here and right now, as the human I am today.

    Laina: I’ve learned the real meaning of community lately. Not just where I live where we look out for each other and help those who need it, but at my children’s school, my friends, even online. My communities have delivered love and compassion and for that, I’m grateful.

    Gabba: I’m grateful for my sister who shows me that no matter where we are living or what obstacles we face as individuals, we will always find support from each other.

    Monica: This year I’m grateful for this practice showing me a way back to myself, back to what’s real. And I’m grateful for all the people in my life who have been supporting my growth along this path.

    And, I’ll finish off this list of things we’re grateful for by saying that my relationship with my family has deepened considerably this year. I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent with them and the love and support they’ve given me.

    Even after Thanksgiving is over, do yourself a favor and make practicing gratitude part of your daily life. If you already do, good on you! Make sure you practice with emotion to make your practice more impactful. As you do you’ll notice your quality of life getting better.

    Below you’ll find a gratitude meditation with Kino that you can try out. We also have some gratitude-themed classes on Omstars you can explore.

    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 Debby Hudson on Unsplash