How to Create a Yoga Practice Habit with Matt Kowald

How can you form a yoga practice habit? Do you want to do more in your yoga practice but find it hard to form a routine around it? Perhaps you’ve formed an unwanted habit you’d like to remove. Matt Kowald, co-author and co-founder of Yogis Journal, joins Shannon to discuss what it takes to create and maintain a yoga practice habit.

Matt is a varsity wrestler originally from Australia who now lives in Canada. His athletic life sparked an interest into habits, routines and journaling, and he began his yoga practice in 2013. Matt is a personal trainer and yoga teacher who has studied exercise, sport and rehabilitation science, and is currently studying kinesiology at Brock University.

The Yogis Journal is a beautiful journal rooted in the 8 limbs, with the intention of helping people create meaningful rituals and habits around yoga. Matt and Shannon dive into the intricacies of what it takes to form and maintain routines and habits, particularly around your yoga practice. Matt also has some great insights about self-love, following through on goals, and the science behind it all.

If you have been wanting to add in a new habit, or if you help yoga students with their at-home yoga practice, this episode is full of incredible tips and tricks. Stay tuned to the end of the episode to find out about the amazing offer Matt has for listeners, and Shannon has a gift for three lucky listeners as well!

Key Takeaways:

[4:16] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Matt Kowald.

[6:01] Shannon shares her experiences using the Yogis Journal in her yoga practice.

[8:59] What got Matt interested in the work of helping people with their habits around yoga?

“If you want to make it a habit, consistency is important. Consistency over volume.” – Matt Kowald

[9:58] Matt is from Australia but moved to Canada. What brought him to Canada?

[10:59] What got Matt into yoga?

[11:32] How did Matt carve out the time for all his activities, university and designing the Yogis Journal?

[12:40] Coffee is a trigger for Matt to be more creative in the morning. How does that work?

[13:59] How can we build a habit of doing yoga daily? Matt explains the idea behind hot and cold triggers.

“A hot trigger is something that reminds you to do the behavior when you need to do it.” – Matt Kowald

[17:04] What is Matt’s suggestion for overcoming habits that have been formed that aren’t very positive?

[20:27] What are Matt’s thoughts on using a reward system as a motivator?

[21:51] The most important part is setting up a small step. Shannon and Matt discuss why even a small step in the right direction is a good thing.

[24:05] How can we cope with our perfectionist tendencies, or when we fall away from our daily practice?

[26:17] In terms of daily practice, how long does it take to form a habit?

“That’s what a habit is. It’s just a behavior that becomes automatic, and then we do that so that we can do other tasks, more complex.” – Matt Kowald

[29:07] What’s the best time of day to set up a habit?

[30:32] What is the best way to approach incorporating a yoga habit in our lives?

[32:11] Shannon and Matt talk through some of her own struggles with maintaining a daily yoga practice.

[34:32] What other tips has Matt learned through the years about forming habits?

[36:14] What is Matt’s advice to people who feel that they want to make all the changes, all at once?

[39:12] Everyone sets goals for the New Year, but hardly anyone follows through on them. How can we come back to starting our habits again?

[42:12] What motivated Matt to create the Yogis Journal?

[45:47] Matt explains how he uses his own Yogis Journal as a trigger for himself.

“The biggest thing is to come from a place of self-love.” – Matt Kowald

[47:45] What other advice does Matt have for yoga teachers struggling with their practice or helping others set up their own practice?

[49:30] Check out Yogis Journal at the website, and do email Matt if you have any questions.

[50:33] Share your thoughts about this episode, your struggles with your personal practice and any other key takeaways with Shannon.

[53:31] Shannon is giving away three Yogis Journals – find out how you can participate in this giveaway!

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