Maintaining Practicing

Learning To Love the Yoga Mat


The thought of living a “yogi” lifestyle seems peaceful, idyllic, and super healthy. But, have you ever tried to jump into the practice of yoga and found yourself overwhelmed, completely lost, and more anxious than ever? You’re not alone.

The beautiful, tall, thin, yoga teachers we admire make the daily act of bending your body and holding poses look way too easy. In reality, if you’re new to yoga, it can be pretty intimidating.

If you want to incorporate yoga into your life, we’ve got some tips to make the journey a little easier. But, remember, it takes time; you won’t be a yogi overnight, but you can start to reap its many benefits in small ways.

Change Your Perspective

A lot of people decide to get into yoga for fitness. However, if you approach yoga in an attempt to “get skinny,” you’ll likely fail. Yoga is about a spirit, body, and mind connection. All of these need to align in order to attain your desired results.

You can still get fit through yoga, but understand that it’s meant to make your insides pretty, too. Yoga destresses the mind and uplifts the soul. So, try tapping into that process first.

Related: “New Twists On Yoga”

Create An Atmosphere

The environment in which you practice is as important as your practice itself. You’ll want a calming and peaceful atmosphere with limited distractions. Find a place in your home that feels comfortable with enough room to move.

After you’ve secured a spot, consider putting candles or incense around you and maybe using a meditation playlist for some background noise, especially if you have a hard time quieting your mind.

Get Comfy

Part of creating a comfortable environment is wearing something you feel good in. You don’t want to wear something too tight in which you can’t move easily. Also, don’t wear anything that makes you feel self-critical.

Yoga pants and leggings are the go-to items for most yogis, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be yours. If you are comfier in your pajamas, then go for it. This practice is for you and you only.

Start Simple

Don’t overwhelm yourself with an intense practice from day one. It may seem enticing, but remember that all yogis had to start somewhere and it definitely took some time for them to become advanced.

Instead, start with a few easy poses that easily flow from one to another. This will help you learn to control your breath in the proper way and start to feel the magical yoga “flow.” Learning to successfully master a few basic moves first will motivate you to continue.

Be Consistent

The number one thing to keep in mind is that “consistency is key.” It’s a good idea to set aside a specific time every day for your new habit. Start logging your mat sessions to stay motivated. Yoga doesn’t haven’t to feel like a chore; with a few simple adjustments, you’ll be loving the mat in no time!

-Laurie Riihimaki


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Laurie Riihimaki is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and busy-bee covering topics such as sex and relationships, holistic medicine and self-care, and career and personal development. Laurie's background and studies with theatre in Boston, London, and New York City have helped her to create a fun, comical voice that she utilizes in her writing. When she is not writing for work, Laurie puts time into developing novels, poetry, and personal essays. And when she isn't writing she is spending time directing, acting, painting, exploring nature, reading, or spending time with family and her dog, of course.

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