Our daylight hours have been steadily decreasing—and, with the winter solstice still two months away, the days will get a lot shorter before things improve. The lessening daylight can have a huge impact on your mood and energy levels, which may in turn affect your yoga practice. 

If you're anything like me, the darker mornings and early evenings may be making it harder for you to get to class. When the alarm goes off for a 6:30 am class and it's still dark outside, it's hard to drag yourself out from underneath the covers, particularly as the weather will continue to chill. Similarly, when darkness is already falling as you're leaving work, it can be hard to consider going anywhere other than directly home.

But don't let the darkness win! Yoga class energizes me and lifts my mood, and is all that much more important when the short days are sapping my energy. Even though I know that I benefit from attending class, I still sometimes have to resort to tricks during this time of year to get myself out the door.


Here are three of my tips for conquering the short daylight hours and getting yourself to class:

Schedule your yoga session.

Scheduling your yoga practice the same way you would a can't-miss meeting makes you more likely to show up on your mat. Add it to your iCal, pencil it in on your planner, or block out the time however you choose—seeing it as a commitment will help you think of it that way. Consider adding another level of accountability by making plans to attend with a friend or registering for the class in MindBody. If you know you'll be letting someone else down by skipping, you probably won't.

Put your yoga mat by the door.

Make it easy on yourself by preparing for the next day's class before you go to bed. If you plan on attending a morning class, set out your clothing, mat, and keys. With fewer obstacles to overcome when your alarm goes off in the morning, you have a greater chance of getting yourself out the door, even while it's still dark. If you instead plan on attending an after-work class, pack a bag with your yoga clothes and mat and set it by the door. All you need to do then in the morning is remember to grab it on your way out!

Plan for success.

Sometimes the shorter days make me lazy and leave me looking for any excuse to avoid physical exertion. Nip those feelings in the bud by planning for success! If you want to attend a morning class, ensure you get into bed at a reasonable hour so you feel rested when the alarm goes off. If you're planning on an after-work class, consider eating a sensible snack in the afternoon (at least two hours before practicing) so that you feel energized when it's time for class. Keep hydrated also!

In addition to the three tips listed above, remind yourself how you feel when you've finished a class. Accomplished? Strong? Energized? Centered? Relaxed? Yoga is its own reward, and so simply reminding yourself of that may do the trick! However you get yourself out the door, we hope to see you at the studio soon!

As an added incentive, we're bringing back our Darker Morning Challenge! Attend two morning classes within one calendar week and then email us at info@shawyogadc.com to let us know ... and we'll add a free class pass to your account! 

What other tips do you have for conquering the shorter days and making it onto your mat? Let us know in the comments! 

image credit: Swaraj Tiwari