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How To Motivate Yourself To Do Yoga: 7 Simple Techniques

Laura Finch on January 12, 2020
Laura is a yoga teacher who completed 200 hours of training.

Has it happened to you before?

You had a terrible day at work. Having come home - stressed, exhausted, and groggy, you walk around the house skewing at your unrolled mat humbly waiting for you in the corner. THIS is the time when your body and mind needs yoga the most. You know it, and you realize how good you'll feel after even a short time on the mat. But… you just can't force yourself get to it. Instead, you end up on the couch binge-watching Netflix and wolfing down peanut butter.

Don't worry, you're not alone in this battle. In fact, there's even a term for what is happening to you - Akrasia, i.e., the state of acting against your own better judgment.

When you had a tough day and try to stay active.

Akrasia is somewhat similar to procrastination. However, if with procrastination you'll put the task off until later, but eventually will finish it, with Akrasia, things never seem to get done.

The problem of akratic behavior is probably as ancient as the world itself and has been discussed by many philosophers. Alas, with no universal solution.

Between you and me, Akrasia and I were really close friends. Even when I first discovered yoga and was super excited about my practice, I often skipped yoga sessions at the moments I needed them most.
So I tried different tricks throughout the years, in the hope they would encourage me to get control over myself and this mental state and I could cultivate a consistent yoga practice.

So here are seven simple techniques and tips that help me (and hopefully will help you too!) beat Akrasia and get on the mat when I feel least like it. 

Remind Yourself About Your WHY

Maybe you're trying to lose weight, recover from injury, gain mobility, chill out because of the stressful job. No matter what your yoga goals are, try to continually remind yourself about how practicing yoga can bring you closer to your dreams and aims.

I suggest that you write down your measurable yoga objectives in the journal and state exactly how you can achieve them. For example, "I want to lose 2 pounds by the end of the month. → I will do 30-minute Power yoga sessions every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday." Or "I want to do 108 Sun Salutations for Winter Solstice. → I will practice 15 Sun Salutations every day to build strength and endurance."

Make sure to jot down your already existing achievements in the journal so you can revisit them for inspiration in times like these.

In addition to journaling, create a visual wish map and hang it on the wall near the couch so you can see it at times you're planning to choose Netflix over yoga.

Keep Your Yoga Mat Rolled Out


Sounds too easy?

Well, you might be surprised, but structuring your environment in a way you want to act can determine your future behavior. Make it easy for yourself to do the things you want. Make it hard for yourself to do the things you'd rather avoid.

Planning to do yoga in the morning? Unroll your mat right beside your bed and prepare the yoga gear and clothes in the evening.

Want to do yoga after work? Unplug the TV set and switch off WiFi once you leave the house, but leave your yoga mat unrolled and your gear ready. When you get back home, it will be easier to get on the mat right away than putting extra effort to set up the TV and the Internet.

Getting your own yoga mat is an investment you won't regret. Check out this guide on how to choose a yoga mat and what qualities to look for in a good piece of yoga gear.

Make It Doable

The 10-minute yoga session sounds much more doable than a full-length 60-minute class. Especially if you're worn to a frazzle.

Don't worry that your yoga practice will last less than usual. It doesn't matter as long as you get some movement. Who knows, maybe after 10 minutes you'll burst with energy and decide to extend that yoga class.

Have A Non-Negotiable "I-Don't-Want" Plan

Instead of winging the duration of the yoga session depending on your mood and spending time looking for an online yoga class, set up a strict plan of action for the times when you just don't feel like doing yoga. For instance, choose to do a seated warm-up and 3 rounds of Sun Salutations on days when you're too tired.

The most important word to remember here is – non-negotiable. It means you stick to your plan, no matter what. No matter how awful your day was, how busy you were today and whether you're literally falling off your feet or not.

When your kid goes to kindergarten, and you have to drive to pick them up, you don't care how you feel. You just know that this is something you must do. Period. Treat your non-negotiable "i-don't want" yoga plan just like that.

You will feel good about yourself even after this short yoga session. And in case you find strength and power for more, even better!

Keeping your yoga mat unrolled at all times can actually make it easier for you to get on it later in the day.

Join A Support Group

If you're a social beast, it's always a good idea to join a Facebook or Instagram support groups. Or maybe your local studio offers other ways to connect with yogis from your community. Encouragement and support from like-minded people can go a long way!

Embrace Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk can enhance general well-being and improve physical performance. And it is precisely what often gets me to do the stuff I don't feel like doing.

Instead of tormenting yourself with the statements such as "I'm lazy and demotivated because I'm too tired to do yoga," try showing yourself some love. Say "I'm the person who does yoga even for 5 minutes when I'm tired." Every time you say positive things about yourself can give you confidence and motivation to be the person you want to be.

Allow Yourself To Fail

Sometimes getting to the yoga studio, unrolling the mat or putting on your yoga pants are often the hardest part. But once you do this, the rest comes easy.

Tell yourself that you can lie in Savasana for the whole time, but you need to get off the bed and get on that mat. Give yourself permission to fail, and just take it easy.

How do you find the motivation to practice yoga? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments!

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