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How I Made Yoga My Keystone Habit

July 11, 20166 min read

I was not a lover of yoga. I thought it was a hokey slow moving activity that didn’t do much for you. When I exercise I want to move faster. Physical activity, I thought, should be active, intense, and work up a sweat. Sure, I had dabbled in a little yoga, doing a class here or there, but it never stuck. It never really made me feel like it was something that I wanted to do everyday or had to.

Peer Pressure Works Wonders

This past winter, I participated in Krista's Daily Essentials online course that helps you set new goals and routines to make shifts in your life to take care of you. Being at a point in my life where I wasn’t feeling happy. I felt stressed out, and tired all the time. Add in sleeping poorly and I didn’t feel rested. As a result, I was grumpy and unhappy, though I tried to not show it.

When Krista invited me to the course I was hesitant. I really didn’t want to add one more thing to my schedule and was apprehensive about a 10 week commitment. Plus I had done courses like this before and wondered if/how this would be any different. In the end I decided to sign on.

What is a Keystone Habit?

One of the things we addressed in the course was keystone habits. What they were and why they were important. A keystone habit is a habit that sets you up for success everyday. It is something that you do on a daily basis that just allows everything else to fall into place, and can make or break your day.

The neat thing about this is it’s not a huge involved thing. It could be anything from meditation to exercise to that glass of lemon water first thing. Keystone habits are different for each individual, what works for me, may not work for you. Your keystone is whatever daily habit fits best for you and gets you going in the mornings.

I had never really thought about this before, but it made total sense. As humans we are creatures of habit and routine. Even though we enjoy our leisurely days where we have no timelines or commitments, we also need some form of predictability. It’s innate. I never really realized how important those few things that I did first thing in the morning were.

How Do I Find My Key?

As I worked through the course, I tried this and that, doing things in small steps, as Krista suggested. Encouraging us to focus on one thing at a time, even though there were ten weeks of possible habit changes. She said “pick one that calls to you and do that first.” If that turned out to be the only change we made during the course, that was ok, as long as it stuck and we were happy with it. The question for me was where to start?

What were my keystone habits? Which ones did I need to develop?

Heart stone

I explored tools for going to bed early and getting up earlier but those never really stuck (and I was finding them hard to do). Regular meditation was already part of my morning. So I added in a mid day or evening one (Deepak Chopra happened to have one of his free 21 day meditation series going on). I tried using lavender before bed – a bath or tea nightly just didn’t appeal to me, but nothing gelled.

Still tired and waking up exhausted. I had no idea what I needed to do.

How Yoga Became My Keystone Habit

Adding in yoga kind of happened by accident – and thinking back on it I am not sure why I did not identify this on my own before. I have always loved getting up in the morning and working out first thing. Getting up and going to the gym, for a run, or bike ride before I did anything else was my treat. I need and love that movement. After having kids, I was no longer able to make this happen first thing on a consistent basis.

How did I get to yoga? Like I said by accident… During the course I decided to participate in a detox cleanse. It was one I had done before and knew my body would benefit by doing again. Knowing that during the detox my energy levels would be lower I needed a gentler form of exercise. But I still wanted and needed some form of movement during the detox week.

Krista S

At this time I was also starting a new job in the mornings and did not have time for a trip to the gym. Needing something I could do at home that was short, easy, gentle and what I perceived as ‘low energy’ I gave yoga a try. Just as an aside, I have learned that yoga is anything but. Though it is a more gentle form of physical activity, it works and stretches the whole body, building and strengthening muscles and is just as beneficial as other forms of exercise.

Krista has a number of resources online that were short yoga routines geared for starting your day, so I went and checked them out. This short 5 minute routine was enough to get my body moving.

The Perfect Fit

It was perfect, I could easily do it first thing in the morning before doing anything else and then move on with my day. Happy and confident that I had gotten in my exercise without any big interruption or change.

My original intention was to only do this for the week of the detox, but I enjoyed it so much I did it for a second week. Then a third and a fourth. By this time it was so ingrained into my routine that on the odd day where I missed it or got delayed I got grumpy and frustrated. I needed my morning yoga! Other things started to happen as well. I was sleeping better and feeling rested when I got up. My energy was up. I got to bed slightly earlier and woke up earlier in the mornings. I felt less stressed and even though my days were still busy, I could get it all done (and maybe a little more).

Things were flowing and I was happier all around. I created a whole new routine with little effort and by simply changing one thing, all the other habits magically fell into place. It was amazing!

Finding your KeyStone Habit

Now I love yoga, I need it like air. It is the keystone habit for me. If I don’t do it in the mornings first thing, I become grumpy and my days don’t flow so smoothly. My kids even respect that I need to do it first, before they get their breakfast. Sometimes they even do it with me.

Finding Your Key

Creating a keystone habit does not have to be scary or overwhelming. It does not have to be this big huge change that is hard or disrupts your life. One tiny change done on a consistent basis can set the foundation for other healthy habits that just fall into place and improve your life. And it’s not hard.

One last word of advice… don’t discount anything. Sometimes it takes a bit of time, exploration and experimenting to figure out what is the keystone habit that sets the foundation for you. I never thought it would be yoga for me!

benefits of yogahow to create keystone habitkeystone habits morning yoga routineNourish
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Carmen Jochmann

Carmen Jochmann is a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, writer, blogger and Angel Therapy Practitioner®. She has a strong passion for the outdoors, working with children and healthy food & lifestyle. Find Carmen in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes or creating new ones that meet her family's needs. She hosts her own blog at where she provides tips, tools and recipes for living a healthy and sugar free lifestyle.

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