5 Ways to Inspire Your Practice in the New Year

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My home yoga practice is one of my little luxuries in life that is always so satisfying and beneficial that it makes me feel like I feel like I could conquer the world when I'm able to do it consistently. It's not that it's such a difficult task--I never run out of poses to practice--it's just that it's so nice to tailor my practice to my energy of the day and work on the things I know I need the most. I emerge feeling pampered, accomplished, and a little bit warm and fuzzy. But, like most things, it comes and goes in waves. Sometimes I do really well, practicing every day. Other times, I get out of the habit and don't practice for weeks. This is one of those times. For more than a week, I've been traveling to visit family for the holidays, and haven't had much more than a few minutes to myself. And when I'm out of the habit, I need a little extra motivation to get going again.

The New Year is a great time to re-commit to a regular home practice (and, personally, I think it's a much healthier and more sustainable New Year's resolution than a diet!).

Here are a few ways I entice myself to get back on the mat when I need to re-establish my home practice.

1. Leave your mat, props, and zafu out. Much to my husband's chagrin, I leave my yoga stuff out in the middle of the living room. When I have to walk past a mound of props a hundred times a day, it's impossible to forget about the practice. When it's staring me in the face, I'm a lot more likely to practice for at least a few minutes, and that often turns into an hour or longer stint on my mat. Sorry, Husband. I'll put it away once I'm back in the habit.

2. Practice at the same time, in the same place every day. This is a great way to start a healthy habit. Before you know it, you'll do your practice without even thinking about it.

3. Write it down. I actually write "yoga" on my daily to-do list every morning along with things like "Write a blog post" and "Go to the grocery store." At the end of the day, if I haven't checked it off, I hit my mat because it drives me nuts to leave something undone.

4. Work up to a pose that challenges you. Everyone has a nemesis pose or one that they're just dying to attain. If you work on it every day for a length of time, you're bound to notice improvements--the ultimate form of motivation.

5. Let go. No matter how much you are committed to your practice, sometimes life happens. Things come up. Plans change. Unexpected company arrives at the front door. There are a myriad of things that will cause you to miss your practice. It's OK! Disruptions are a part of the practice. Go with the flow, and try again tomorrow! 

Bonus: Here's a sixth way that'll help you recommit to a home practice: Take Yoga Journal's 21-Day Yoga Challenge! It offers original videos each day; meditation, pranayama, and yoga philosophy lessons; a daily newsletter full of practice tips and recipes; and a Challenge chat room to talk about your experience with other participants. By the end of the 21 days, practicing at home will be a habit! It starts on Jan. 10. Sign up at yogajournal.com/21daychallenge.

Erica Rodefer is a writer and yoga enthusiast in Charleston, SC. Visit her blog, Spoiledyogi.com, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.