Yoga is for all: That’s the message yoga teacher and body-positive advocate Jessamyn Stanley spreads to her students and 233K Instagram followers. But fear and lack of motivation can get in the way of even starting a practice. In this excerpt from her upcoming book, Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body (Workman, 2017), Stanley gets real with first-time yogis (and even yogis with a LTR with yoga) about what will get them on the mat.
Q: I have no motivation to exercise at all, let alone practice yoga. How can I motivate myself?
A: Oh, motivation, you fickle little bitch. Motivation is a fairy-tale nymph—she dances in while we’re feeling emotionally vulnerable in Dick’s Sporting Goods and encourages us to purchase expensive healthy living equipment thinking: “This time will be different.” She buzzes around our heads while we’re committing to expensive yoga class packages or gym memberships, but conveniently pulls an abrupt dip out when we’re silencing alarm clocks ten minutes before class.
I’ve become accustomed to motivation’s inconsistent presence in my life, and I’ve accepted that it would be foolish to expect anything else. Instead, I focus on doing the things that make me feel good, and yoga makes me feel better than anything else. On days when I’m undermotivated, I can still remember how good the practice makes me feel and so I drag my ass to the mat. Once I get on my yoga mat, it doesn’t matter if I’m motivated, because it would be too disappointing to put the mat away. That’s my advice—just get on the mat. Don’t expect to feel fully motivated every day; proceed full speed ahead without it. Soon you’ll realize that motivation is actually more like a car—really helpful if you have one, but you can find other ways to get around.