Setting Goals in Yoga

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It’s hard to believe, but I’m coming up on my ten year anniversary of practicing yoga.

I keep thinking to myself, A decade?! Really?!

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There are very few other things that have been in my life for a full ten years. This is, of course, in part because I’m only about three decades old, but still... it feels like a big deal ;) And it is, to me!

As I celebrate this milestone in my practice, I am noticing what I’ve learned over the years and also thinking about my goals for the future.

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I’m curious – do you guys set goals in your yoga practice? Do you track your progress?

And if you are a goal-oriented person, do you concentrate more on the short-term or the long-term when it comes to your yoga practice?

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One thing I’ve learned over the years is that my practice constantly shifts and evolves depending on my needs—physical, emotional, and spiritual. I have experienced injuries and slumps in motivation, along with breakthroughs that lead to progress, not only in the poses but in my ability to live a mindful, peaceful life.

When I step back and look at the big picture, I see how far I’ve come and how much yoga has helped me: not only to find ease and mobility in my physical body, but also to release stress and build self-confidence.

Whether you’re new to your yoga practice, or you’ve been practicing for decades, here are a few ideas for setting goals, tracking your progress, and letting go of your expectations.

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Yoga Goals

  • Set the smallest goal, and stick to it. Commit to 5 minutes a day on your yoga mat for a few days, a week, or a month. Leave your mat rolled out and your workout clothes out, and then put them on first thing in the morning. Start super, super small so that it becomes very hard to find an excuse not to practice.
  • In what areas of your body do you feel weak or tight? Spend a set period of time focusing on a single body part. For instance, if your hips tend to be uncomfortable or hold tension, make a list of 3-5 hip opening postures you will practice daily for a week. Notice what difference you feel in your body.
  • Complete an Instagram challenge and connect with the hosts. Ask for help being held accountable in your practice even after the challenge has ended.
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  • Take a basics class, regardless of your level of experience. What do you notice? How can you approach “easy” poses with new insight? Reflect on the way “basic” poses create a foundation for all postures.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone. If you tend to practice only at a vinyasa studio, try a hot Bikram class. If you’ve never done yin, try it out. Sometimes mixing it up can help you get un-stuck or find new motivation to meet your goals.
  • Give yourself permission to work outside of your goal list. Set no goals for a while, and see how that affects your practice. Sometimes it can be most refreshing to live and flow in the present moment.
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Do you have goals for your yoga practice in 2018? I'd love to hear! I invite you to leave a comment below, or shoot me an email at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com anytime. ;)

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Photos (1) and (3) by Christina Scellato; photo (2) by Allie Kenyon; photo (4) by Kate Donaldson Photography; all other photos by me.