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How to Start a New Yoga Practice and Actually Stick with It

Starting a new yoga practice can be a transformative journey with numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Whether you’re seeking stress relief, increased flexibility, or a stronger mind-body connection, yoga has something to offer everyone. However, beginning a new practice can also be overwhelming, and many find it challenging to maintain consistency. Today, we’ll explore essential tips to help you embark on your yoga journey and, most importantly, stay committed to your practice for the long haul.

1) Set Clear Intentions

Before you unroll your mat, take a moment to reflect on why you want to start a yoga practice. Understanding your intentions will give your journey a purpose. Whether it’s to enhance flexibility, find inner peace, or cultivate mindfulness, clearly defining your goals will guide your practice. You’ll discover showing up becomes easier and easier as you become intrinsically motivated.

2) Start with Simple Practices 

As a beginner, it’s vital to gradually ease into your yoga practice. Avoid jumping into advanced poses that could lead to frustration or injury. Begin with gentle, beginner-friendly classes or videos focusing on the basics, such as proper alignment and breath awareness. These foundational practices will lay the groundwork for your journey and build a strong foundation.

Most importantly, be committed to doing the same or similar practices repeatedly! Remember, repetition is how we learn something new, whether it’s yoga, soccer, cooking, or spelunking.

3) Create a Consistent Routine

Consistency is the key! Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Creating a routine will help you make yoga an integral part of your lifestyle, leading to long-term dedication. Practically, this means shorter classes more often than one long class every week. It could be as simple as setting aside 15 minutes every morning or during your lunch hour. As you get comfortable with this routine and find your motivation for showing up (see point one), you’ll naturally carve out space for longer classes! 

4) Be Kind to Yourself, aka, It’s Okay to Be New!

Starting a new yoga practice can be awkward, uncomfortable, and humbling. Think of the last time you ever tried something new. Maybe it was a cooking class, a company-wide axe-throwing competition, or that one time you decided to learn circus arts. New stuff always comes with a little bit of discomfort! Remember that yoga is a journey, and progress takes time. Be patient with yourself, embrace your imperfections, and celebrate even the smallest victories. Let go of self-judgment and cultivate self-compassion throughout your practice.

5) Find a Supportive Community

Joining a yoga community can be incredibly beneficial for staying motivated and accountable. Whether it’s an online group, a friend you drag to class, or attending a workshop or yoga retreat, surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can foster a sense of belonging and encouragement. Engaging with others who share your passion for yoga will inspire you to keep showing up on the mat.

6) Explore Different Styles

Yoga offers a diverse range of styles, each with its unique benefits. Feel free to explore different styles of yoga to find what resonates with you best. From Vinyasa to Hatha, Yin to Kundalini, there’s a style suited for every individual. Trying different classes will broaden your horizons, teach you new things, and invite variability into your practice. 

7) Embrace Mindfulness Off the Mat

Yoga goes far beyond the shapes we make on the mat. It’s also how we live our lives. Embrace mindfulness in your daily activities, whether savoring your morning coffee (and your afternoon coffee), walking in nature, or practicing deep breathing during stressful moments. Taking yoga off the mat also means compassion, kindness, and moving through the world with a little more purpose than we might otherwise. Integrating mindfulness into your everyday life will reinforce your commitment to yoga beyond the studio.

Starting a new yoga practice is a journey of self-discovery and growth. By setting clear intentions, maintaining consistency, and cultivating self-compassion, you’ll be well on your way to making yoga a lifelong practice. Embrace the process, find joy in each step, and remember that your yoga journey is unique and beautiful, just like you. Now, go unroll your mat and embark on this transformative adventure with a heart full of enthusiasm and dedication!

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