Yoga is a wonderful way to strengthen the body and quiet the mind. Frequent practice of yoga, according to the ancient yogis, is also a great way to attain balance in one’s body, mind and spirit.

When you bring a new habit like yoga into your life, though, it requires a great deal of self-discipline. Self-control is a trait that is not always easy to achieve because work, unexpected problems, and daily life all intervene sometimes to rearrange our plans.

Remember about all the New Year’s resolutions over the years that have faded away without ever being acted upon? Our good intentions do not always translate into the behavior we want to change without our adopting a systematic approach to effect the change.

The secret to making yoga a part of our lives

Self-discipline is the secret ingredient we need if we are to be successful in integrating any new habit like yoga into our lives. We unfortunately are not born with self-discipline; we have to learn it. It is worth the effort because it is the one trait that can move us faster toward reaching our goals than any other habit.

Wilhelm Hoffman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago did a 2013 study showing that people who have a higher level of self-control report being happier. This happens due to their being better able to deal with conflicts that interfere with working to achieve their goals.

Tools for creating a new you with yoga

Here are some ways you can successfully integrate yoga (or any new habit) into your life:

  1. Schedule time for yoga

Most of us never notice what creatures of habit we are until something happens that causes us to have to change our way of doing things. Likewise, if we want to learn yoga or any other skill, we have to create time for it in our busy lives. There are yoga classes available before work hours, midday, and in the late afternoons and evenings.

If you already know the yoga asanas (positions) and a good routine, then make time for it in your busy life. Schedule it in, plan on doing it, and then do it – this is the highest form of self-discipline.

  1. Announce your intentions to friends and family

When we inform our family and friends we are setting aside time for doing yoga, it can aid us in actually doing the yoga. First, we are advising our family and friends that we will not be available to them during the time we are doing yoga. Making the announcement also lets people have a chance to encourage us in our endeavor. Letting other people know of our plan takes it out of our heads (where it can live on without ever becoming a reality) and gives us a better chance of actually doing it.

  1. Take good care of your body

Just like your car needs gas and oil to run well, your body needs proper nutrition in order to function at an optimal levels. Get plenty of rest and refrain from overloading your body with too much sugar, carbs, and protein. Be sure to keep your body hydrated with eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.

  1. Reward yourself

Treat yourself to a healthy reward once you have successfully adapted your schedule to include yoga.

Yoga has many benefits: better sleep, better physical intimacy, increased energy, better breathing techniques, and a more positive outlook on life. It is also a great way to practice self-discipline.