The hardest part of yoga is getting on your mat on a regular basis to practice. It can seem as though there are 30 different reasons for NOT showing up to practice on some days. And often, a lapse in practice can snowball into quite a lengthy period of time. In order to make sure you continually return to your mat, it can help to unpack your reasons for showing up in the first place.
Often, we come to yoga for physical and mental reasons. Increased strength, flexibility, and stamina, or decreased stress, the need to nurse an injury or heal the body, or the desire to connect to a deeper spirituality are the most common reasons people come to yoga in the first place. But when you take a closer look at your own personal reasons for showing up to practice, you will find that connecting to the underlying layers of why you practice will keep you coming back to your mat day after day.
Let’s use a couple examples to show how you can unpack your WHY. Let’s say you come to yoga to gain more strength and flexibility. Ask yourself WHY you want more strength and flexibility. Your answer might be “Because I feel better when my body is strong and flexible.” Then ask WHY do you want to feel better? Your answer might be, “Because when I feel better I know that I am healthy.” WHY do you want to be healthy? “I want to be healthy as I get older so that I can enjoy my family.” WHY do you want to enjoy your family as you get older? “Because sharing moments with them is one of my favorite things in the world.” WHY is sharing moments with them one of your favorite things in the world? “Because it fills me with love.”
Aha! You have arrived at your core reason for practicing yoga. When you firmly connect to this reason—I want to practice yoga because it fills me with love—then you will be more likely to get on your mat and do your practice. Let this reason be your inspiration for practice.
Let’s look at another reason. Let’s say you come to yoga to deepen your spirituality. WHY do you want to deepen your spirituality? “Because when I connect to my own spirituality, I feel peaceful.” WHY do you want to feel peaceful? “Because when I feel peaceful, I interact with others in a better way.” WHY do you want to interact with others in a better way? “Because I want to deepen the relationships I have.” WHY do you want to deepen your relationships? “Because feeling connected to others makes me feel safe and loved.”
Aha! When you connect to this reason—I want to practice yoga because it helps me feel safe and loved—then you will be more likely to practice on a regular basis.
You want to be careful to let your reasons be positive reasons and not negative reasons. For example, if your reason for wanting to deepen your practice was instead the negative reason, “Because I feel disconnected to my source of inner peace,” you will head down a rabbit hole of negativity that might help you understand why you are disconnected, but it won’t give you a positive focus to help drive your practice. By flipping the reason around to your positive version of the reason, you will help ensure that you move in the right direction for revealing your inspiration for practice.