Whether you practice every day, three times or once a week, maintaining your yoga practice this time of year can be difficult. There are parties, busy work days, travel and over-all hectic scheduling that can pull you away from your mat. The problem is, many of us can get stressed this time of year, and lose sight of what the holidays are really about. More than ever, our yoga practices are enormously important to keep us sane. It’s been proven that yoga can reduce stress and adapt our brains to think more level-headed. But let’s acknowledge, that yes, it’s hard. Consistently making it to your mat is the most important — and yet one of the hardest — things to do. Try these little tips and tricks thanks to Naomi Abbot to keep your yoga practice consistent no matter what the external forces may be.
Set up a yoga area at home and leave it there. Find a space in your house where you can build a little yoga area. Lay out your mat, keep your blocks set up, and have some incense nearby. It’s much easier to make yourself hit the mat if it’s there ready and waiting. It’s even better if it’s at home because then you don’t have to go anywhere to actually get your yoga in. It’s also especially handy if you like to do early morning yoga. You can easily wake up and wander to your mat, letting yourself fully awaken as you settle in with your breath and begin moving your body.
Get a space heater. In most states, December is cold. It makes you want to do, well, nothing. To overcome that, have a little space heater set up near my yoga mat, and turn it on 5-10 minutes before you hit the mat. By the time you come back into the room, the space is nice and warm. It’s like a little escape from winter, and makes the yoga practice that much more sweet. Not to mention you’ll really get a sweat going once you get into it.
Sign up for a streaming service. With all the crazy scheduling and travel this time of year, it can be hard to make your yoga studio’s schedule fit with your own. That’s why streaming services are a great supplement to your class regimen. Late at night, or in a hotel room — you can pull them up whenever and wherever you’d like. Most only cost $10-$15 a month, so you won’t be breaking the bank, and you may even be incentivized to get in more yoga than you did before. Some streaming services that are great to check out include Udaya, My Yoga Works, and YogaGlo.
Take a minute to plan your week. It’s much easier to get in yoga when you pre-plan which days you should do it. Do yourself a favor, and sit down on Sundays to think through what’s coming up over the next seven days. Plan which days you will hit your mat, and then try your hardest to stick with it. Be sure you’re not just filling every free moment with yoga though. Be realistic. Planning your week also involves making time for socializing and down time. Every life needs balance.
Shorten your practice. Some days, you just won’t be able to get in those juicy, sweaty 90 minutes. That’s ok. Just 15 minutes of yoga is better than nothing. Even sitting cross-legged on your mat and doing breath work is beneficial for the mind. Sometimes you’ll plan to do 20 minutes, and you’ll end up doing 60 once you get going. Whatever you have time for, do it. The important thing is getting on your mat.
This article was originally published on the Free People blog.