How to Start Yoga: 11 Steps to Motivate Your Practice

Let's admit it, sometimes it can be hard to step on the mat.  But we have yet to meet anyone who do not feel amazing after a yoga session.  So how can we get over the initial hump and find a way to kick-start our practice?  Here we gather 11 top tips from the yoga teacher community.

1. Go to a class

We love this top tip from Christine Suzuki, founder of Core Focus:  Make it fun again by connecting with the energies from your fellow classmates and perhaps gain a little inspiration. [caption id="attachment_20601" align="alignnone" width="694"]Core Focus Yoga Taken from Core Focus facebook page:[/caption]

2. Play your favourite songs

Why didn't we think of this?  Great tip from yoga teacher Sheena Shah.  We're so excited, we have to share our favourite yoga playlist here: 

3. Just roll out your mat and stand on it

Some of you may know that the Lots of Yoga team regularly practise with Scott Johnson from Still Point Yoga at London Bridge (his adjustments are amazing, btw).  We loved that he answered our question in such simple elegance:
Just roll out your mat, Step on it Start inhaling Forward fold And the rest will follow
Magic!  We tried this and it worked.  Turned out the hardest part is just rolling out the mat and stepping on it.  The rest does follow. [caption id="attachment_20625" align="alignnone" width="600"]Champ needs no tips. Champ needs no tips.[/caption]

4. Be realistic

How can you break down the practice and make it really simple for your day-to-day?
Aim to do a short sequence with some relaxation; 10-15 minutes is fine. Better a short practice every day than an occasional 'blitz'! Once you have set the habit of doing some yoga each day then it becomes easier.  You don't even need a mat if you are away - try standing postures, for example, or use a folded blanket on the floor.
Lovely advice from Sarah Collins, Dru yoga teacher based in Surrey, UK. [caption id="attachment_20424" align="alignnone" width="600"]Damn you, alarm clock... Our very own Kat demonstrates Dandasana in bed.  No props required.[/caption]

5. Set short goals

Sometimes, our heads take over and visualise too much on what yoga is supposed to be. Try not to.  Set little goals.
I just give myself a tiny goal: 5 minutes on the mat every day. I usually do it right after I get up or just before bed. 5 minutes often turns into 10 or more but just getting on my mat once every day is half the battle.
Wise words from Eleanor Hayes from BirthZang [caption id="attachment_20407" align="alignnone" width="600"]Prep for Lotus Pose by sitting like this (or as far as the knee will go) for 5 minutes every night Prep for Lotus Pose by sitting like this (or as far as the knee will go) for 5 minutes every night[/caption]

6. Embrace Distractions

Involve your kids or pets in your yoga instead of getting frustrated. And....DO IT! I have a tendency to say, oh I'll just empty the dishwasher, then I'll go on my mat. Put the mat down, and just do it.
See Claire Saunders from Yoga Bright beautifully demonstrating that with her lovely mini yogi. [caption id="attachment_20608" align="alignnone" width="600"]Via Via[/caption]

7. Vary your routine

What about taking up something else before coming back to the mat?
I'd lost my mojo with home practice until I took up running - I needed more yang in my life and now I'm loving yoga again!!!!  
Top tip from Kate Williams, Sunflowerboom counselling. [caption id="attachment_20609" align="alignnone" width="640"]Have you tried yoga and hiking? Have you tried yoga and hiking?[/caption]

8. Lay out your mat the night before you go to bed

Great tip!  We actually tried it and realised that when it was more work to put the mat away than to practise on it, you default to the lazier option:
Roll out your mat and make your space before you go to bed, then when you get up you can just light your candle and sit on your mat. The hardest Asana is get your Arse-ana on the mat.
Hear, hear! Thanks, Rosemary Paradi.

9. Keep learning

Yoga teacher Sam Gent points out that one can see regular classes as an opportunity to learn and engage.  You can use the time to listen to alignment cues and ask questions, and perhaps also start a yoga notebook/journal. Not to mention that there are lots of great yoga books and articles out there both published and online!

10.  Set up a motivational slogan on your smart phone alarm!

We spotted this top tip from Monica at Yogi movement, it made us laugh out loud. Surely it must work? [caption id="attachment_20600" align="alignnone" width="576"]Top tips on waking up early for your practice via Monica at Top tips on waking up early for your practice via Monica at[/caption]

11. Finally, yoga isn't just for the mat

For those who are interested in the spiritual aspects of practising yoga:
I always try to explain in my classes that yoga is a way of life, you can use your travel on bus, train etc. by practicing for example Ujayi* or you can practise mindfulness while doing your housework like the dishes. Also you can practice Karma Yoga**.
From Kiki Mieke Haar.  *Ujayi breathing is the deep yogi breathing, and **Karma yoga can refer to performing act of kindness and devotions. Thank you for all the great tips! [caption id="attachment_20613" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Thank you for the great tips! Thank you for the great tips from Pete, Lots of Yoga's clan mate[/caption] Got more top tips to share?   Feel free to comment below so we can all be better yogis. Curated with love from the Lots of Yoga team.

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