As we look toward 2019, our minds are on changes we can make in the new year to be more mindful and deepen our yoga practice. One small, yet hugely impactful change is establishing a morning yoga ritual! A great way to establish a new habit is to break it down into manageable steps that can easily be followed. After 21 days of repetition, you’ll have created a routine that starts your day out on the right foot and makes your yoga practice a more active part of your life. If you spend January building your yoga ritual, your practice will guide you toward a more peaceful 2019 (and beyond!).
Go to bed early. Some of us are early birds, and some of us are night owls. It’s just how we’re wired. If you’re someone who is your best and most productive self late at night, we’re not going to recommend that you turn in at 9 or 10. But if you find yourself regularly falling asleep at two in the morning, try going to bed at midnight instead and see how that works. Find the earliest you can get to bed without feeling like you’re shortchanging your day. Adjust that time – either forward or back – based on how much sleep you need to feel refreshed until you’ve found the perfect sleep schedule.
Keep your mat rolled out. “Out of sight, out of mind” is a big hurdle when you’re trying to create a habit. So is doing things that require much effort first thing in the morning. Put your rolled-out mat in a spot where you’ll be able to see it from bed. All you’ll need to do to get ready is stretch as much as you need to wake your body up.
Rise with the sun. Going hand in hand with going to bed early, finding the right early wake-up time might take a little tinkering. Whether you’re a naturally early riser or a late sleeper, start the first day by moving your usual alarm forward by half an hour. People who like to sleep in might need a week or so to get up a little earlier each day until they’re waking up around sunrise. Don’t push yourself! It’s better to make that change incrementally than to do too much too quickly and decide a morning yoga ritual isn’t for you.
Minimize distractions. There are lots of ways to do this, but a good place to start is by leaving your phone in a place that isn’t easy to reach from bed (i.e. not your nightstand). Lots of people start and end their day by scrolling through their phones, and that’s often a one-way ticket to stressing yourself out. In order to reap all the benefits of a morning yoga ritual, you’ll want to practice with a fresh mind. Having distractions around, like your phone, keep that from happening.
Invite in the day. We don’t want to sound too cliche, but each day truly is a gift. Starting the day with a grateful heart is a surefire way to have a good one! Even if you come across unpleasant things in your path, you’ve set out with a store of joy and gratitude that will make it hard for anything to bring you down.
Set an intention. Intention setting is one of the most crucial things we can do to make our yoga practice more fruitful. You can either set an intention for the practice itself, like deciding that you’ll take more time to focus on your breathing, or one for the whole day. We recommend choosing an intention for your day, but it’s truly up to you. Whatever makes this practice most gratifying for you is the right way to do it!
Make it part of your morning routine. Before you set about developing this ritual, give some thought to how you spend your time on an average morning. We all have morning routines, whether we realize it or not, and figuring out where yoga might fit best into that routine ups your chances of success! Many people with a morning yoga ritual like it to be right when they wake up, but you might find it’s better for you to do it after brushing your teeth, or while you’re brewing your coffee or tea. Tell yourself that you can’t move onto the next thing in your routine until you’ve practiced. You’ll be surprised at how easily it fits into your schedule.
Build extra time into your schedule. We’re only human. There will be days that, for whatever reason, you’ll find it’s awfully hard to get up at your usual yoga time. Set a couple of alarms so that if you need to sleep in a little, you can do it without jeopardizing your ritual. 🙂
Do you already have a morning yoga ritual? Share your favorite tips with us in the comments!