Train Yourself to Do Yoga Everyday – Advice from a Recovering Binge Yogi

Living Yoga Tapas Yoga


Having a daily yoga practice is not that hard. But letting go of ideas and convictions around what that daily practice should look like can be messy, emotional, ego-ridden, and sometimes mind-blowingly hard.

The main reason people struggle to develop a daily yoga practice is because they are holding on to some idealized version of that experience will look like. People often blur the lines around what it means to practice yoga and what it means to exercise. Yoga is a collection of tools intended to support human well-being and happiness, and some of those tools exercise the body. If you really want a consistent daily yoga practice, you need to let go of the idea that your yoga practice will also be your exercise routine. Your yoga practice will need to overcome illness, injury, and fatigue. For most people to develop a consistent daily practice, they have to be willing to start at a place that might feel painfully small and almost pointless.


Because, over the long-term, smaller consistent amounts of yoga are more beneficial than longer bouts done less regularly.

Years ago, I was more of a binge yogi. I would go through phases where I did copious amounts of yoga, attending multiple classes a day and reveling in the high of my practice. Then, a few weeks or so later, I would go a whole week without doing any yoga because I felt like I was just too busy to fit it in.

The teacher training program that I took in 2009 placed a very strong emphasis on practicing every day, and with my binge yogi tendencies, I found myself floundering under that demand. Moderately practicing yoga wasn’t nearly as sexy; I felt like trying to do so didn’t honour me and my rhythms. At that time, a different teacher of mine taught me more about tapas and the importance of consistency and suggested a 5 minute daily practice to start.

It changed my life. Five minutes a day was doable and I did it. And, I kept doing it. Over time, my minimum daily practice has built up to 40 minutes, and it still blows my mind that I have been able to achieve that baseline consistency in my practice. I don’t question the things I used to question. I just do my practice.

I often write about the power of consistency because it has been a striking force of transformation in my life. The key is having the courage and the humility to meet yourself in the place where you are truly able to be consistent.


To start, your daily practice should be determined by your answer to this question:

On your most busy, stressful, and overwhelming day, how much time do you have to practice yoga?

Be really honest when you answer that question. For most people, I suggest 5 minutes to start, but for some people, it might be best to start with 1 minute. Often people respond to my 5 minute suggestion from the motivation and enthusiasm that comes with beginnings and say, “I think I can do 10-15 minutes.”

I raise my eyebrows, stare intently, and say, “Really?”

The aspect of the yoga practice we are working with is tapas. A translation of tapas is: consistency in striving towards your goals. The key word here is consistency, because consistency builds commitment. The more consistently you do something, the more likely you are to keep doing it.

So, in beginning a daily practice, the most important part of the practice is consistency, and the key to achieving consistency is, again, realistically answering this question:

On your most busy, stressful, and overwhelming day, how much time do you have to practice yoga?

When I look at you and say, “Really?” You should be able to confidently respond, “Yes, Sarah, I will be able to do this much yoga every single day.”

Once you have determined the minimum length of your daily practice, I recommend committing to a specific type of practice for that time. For example, your daily practice might be five minutes of pranayama (breath work) or five minutes shavasana or two minutes of asana focused on poses that stretch your hamstrings.

I suggest having a journal or calendar to record your practice and hold yourself accountable. Something I often do is visit to create a printable PDF calendar.

The final step is simply not going to bed until you have marked off your practice for the day. If you come home from the bar at 2am in the morning and you haven’t done your five minute meditation, then you take 5 minutes and mediate.

Can you do more yoga than this during the day?

Absolutely! You can indulge in hours of yoga practice if you have the time and desire. This approach is about building a consistent foundation of yoga to develop a daily commitment.



Tapas, or “Just Do It” Yoga

Living Yoga Niyamas Philosophy Tapas

Just Do It.

Source: Nike Logo

Pop culture references aside, “Just Do It” is a powerful mantra for inspiring action.

Over the past few weeks, I have unsuccessfully been trying to get back on the blog writing bandwagon, so I’m invoking the ”Just Do It” mantra to motivate myself into posting something on my blog – even if it is the worst post I have ever written!

A few months ago, my grandma went into the hospital. My writing (along with almost everything else in my life) was put aside because I wanted to spend as much time by her side as possible. I lost my grandma at the end of March and celebrated her life with family and friends in mid-April, and though I have had more time since then, I still haven’t been able to write.

I have a long list of ideas for blog posts, but my written words haven’t been flowing.

And, I had a similar experience with flow on my yoga mat today.

Most days, I could spend hours doing yoga on my own. I love exploring sequencing, playing with different postures and taking in what ever lessons my practice has to offer. But, today I was stumped – a practice wasn’t flowing from me.

My solution: I grabbed the latest copy of Yoga Journal and followed the home practice.

I still didn’t find my usual intuitive flow, but I stayed on my mat.

And, in this commitment to staying on my mat lies my understanding of the yogic practice of tapas.

In the Yoga Sutras, the Indian sage Patanjali outlines an eight-limbed path of yoga, and in the second limb (the niyamas), he offers five observances to bring more joy and ease into our lives. Tapas, the third niyama, is commonly translated as “fierce discipline,” but Judith Lasater offers a definition that really resonates with me. She describes tapas as “consistency in striving toward your goals: getting on the yoga mat every day, sitting on the meditation cushion every day—or forgiving your mate or your child for the 10,000th time.”

My basic personal tapas practice is a daily 15 minute meditation. I sit for 15 minutes every day – no matter how much I may not want to or feel like I don’t have the time to.  In her book Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life, Charlotte Bell offers the suggestion that yoga and meditation practitioners commit to doing five minutes each day.

I share this suggestion to emphasize that the practice of tapas demands consistency, but it does not require an abundance of time.

With the often paralyzing presence of choice in our day-to-day lives, tapas is a committed directing of our energy towards actions that support our well-being – even when we are not in the “mood” to do things that support our well-being.

It’s a commitment to just doing it – every day.

Whatever your “it” may be.