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Build Your Yoga Practice in 5 Minutes a Day

Ashtanga teacher Eddie Stern launched the YOGA365 app to help you strengthen your practice one mini-session at a time. 

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It’s the middle of March. Do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are?

Yeah, neither do we. 

If your resolve has drifted, you’re not alone. Research shows that 80% of people who promise to take on a new habit for the new year have abandoned it within a month or two. 

But Eddie Stern’s new app, YOGA365, takes a new approach to making resolutions—by making them mini. 

“Sometimes it’s difficult for people to pick up big chunks of things,” says the New York-based yoga instructor. You have every intention of fitting in an hour of yoga or meditation. But, face it, you’re going to hit snooze or you’ll be too fried to roll out your mat at the end of the day. Something will get in the way. You miss a day, and then you miss two. Before you know it, weeks have gone by—and have taken your motivation with them.

Take Baby Steps

Stern thinks you’re more likely to stick to your daily yoga practice if you do just a tiny bit every day.

The secret to building new lifestyle habits, according to Stern, is micro-practices—little bites of practice done daily until you gradually build stronger habits. His series of yoga, pranayama and meditation practices allow you to take the smallest steps possible toward your goal of daily practice, and he has put them on an app so you can do them whenever, wherever you are. 

He’s convinced that even the busiest person has five minutes a day to stretch or breath. He’s not wrong. These are things you can do at your desk or on a coffee break. For some of the practices, you don’t even have to get out of bed. 

“It’s not a lot to do every day,” he says. “If you skip a day every once in a while, not a big deal. You can make it up the next day.” 

Keep it Simple

You don’t have to think about it because the practices come right to your phone once a day like a yoga vitamin. You get five asana practices a week, plus one breathing exercise and a meditation. The app feeds them to you one at a time, so no binging and no overwhelm. They’re punctuated by short affirmations and inspirational messages to keep you encouraged. 

“Simple,” “efficient,” and “accessible” are keywords for Stern, author of One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How it Can Transform Your Life. That shows up in the minimalist aesthetic of the app: The videos are shot in black and white on simple backgrounds. No bells and whistles, just Stern’s straightforward instruction that blends science, yoga philosophy and his experience from decades as an Ashtanga teacher. 

Even if you have a dedicated yoga practice, these mini session can serve as yoga breaks that you can fit in at different times of the day. And for those of us craving some human contact, Stern hosts live monthly gatherings for app subscribers—half-hour sessions that include yoga and breathwork, plus time for Q&A. 

“Steady daily routines, when done repeatedly in small doses can dramatically transform your body, brain functions, emotions and how you experience life,” he says. “Simple, small little tweaks can lead to big changes.”  

Are you resolved to try it?  You can download the app for a free preview, then subscribe for $4.99 per month. For each subscription, Stern offers the app for free to a healthcare worker or first responder.