I have a confession: I've been struggling to make it to my mat as often as I'd like recently. I've felt the impact in a major way. My body has been aching. My stress levels have been through the roof. I'll spare you the excuses and just say that I got out of the habit when I let other things take priority.
I've given my practice a jump-start, though, and I'm happy to report I'm back on track. Here are a few things that worked to get me back on the mat.
1. Buy a big class pass with an expiration date. For me, a financial investment is a great way to get me to the studio. If I spend a lot of money on a class pass that expires in a month, you better believe I'm gong to get my money's worth and attend every class I possibly can.
2. Decide on a practice schedule and stick to it no matter what. This is the most important part of maintaining my regular practice. Things come up. I need to work late. Or I decide that running an errand is more important (just this once). After I've missed a couple of classes, it's a slippery slope and I'm back in a rut of just not being able to make it to the mat. If it's a top priority, it happens. End of story.
3. Ask for help. I told my friends about my new commitment. I posted it to my Facebook page. And now I have a friend who has taken it upon herself to check in with me and ask me how my classes are going. I would be too embarrassed to tell her that I haven't gone, so I make sure I have a good yogic anecdote to share whenever she asks. It works like a charm.
4. Reflect. I made a list of all the ways yoga has benefited me in my years as a student. I sat down and thought about where I was in my life the first time I set foot on a yoga mat, and how much things have changed for the better since then. There's no better motivator than remembering the positive outcomes yoga has had in your own life--and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead (but ONLY if you keep practicing).
5. Stick with it. It would be easy to throw up my hands and admit defeat. "My life is just TOO busy right now!" But life is always too busy. Realistically, I know I will never make it to my mat every time I want to. The important part is that I don't give up and I keep trying to find creative ways to practice regularly.
Yoga is about more than physical postures, so as long as I'm mindful of my decisions, living in the present as much as I can, and compassionate to myself and those around me... I'm practicing yoga. And that's good enough for me.