Being lazy and procrastinating is a natural part of being a human. However, while people experience laziness in various ways and for different reasons, this trait is detrimental to our quality of life. Luckily, the ancient yoga practice can offer some assistance with combating laziness.
Here are some ways yoga can help overcome laziness:
1. Get into the habit of unrolling your yoga mat
2. Set yourself the goal to master a yoga pose
3. Learn a new yoga sequence
4. Join yoga challenges
If you’re interested in learning more about how yoga can help you or someone you know overcome laziness, make yourself a cup of tea and read on. In this article, we’ll also take a scientific look at laziness to determine if it ever can be a good thing.
What is laziness?
Laziness has a comprehensive meaning, and people often misuse the word. What one person sees as “lazy,” another person may see as a moment of relaxation. For example, an extremely busy person might say, “today I want to be lazy,” but what they mean is they simply want to rest after an intense working week.
Then there is a category of people who constantly find excuses for why they can’t perform specific tasks. However, they then invest that time doing something they find more enjoyable, such as lying on the couch watching TV or playing computer games.
Laziness is the state of mind rather than a lack of energy. Lazy people manage to perform physical activities such as walking, playing games, and going out. However, people struggling with low energy levels feel weak and physically tired and witness a decline in focus.
What is the main cause of laziness?
The cause of laziness can differ from one person to another. The reason is never one factor but rather a combination of different ones. Laziness may reflect a lack of self-esteem or purpose, a lack of prana (energy), which is directly linked to poor diet, or it could even be that you have what is known as the “couch potato” gene.
Some foods give us energy while others make us feel tired. So, if you are experiencing laziness and eating a poor diet, this could be a contributing factor. This is because foods filled with saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugars cause feelings of lethargy, making you feel slow and idle.
Think back to a heavy meal you had and how it made you feel. After eating that burger or pizza, you probably didn’t want to do anything apart from lying around. Then think of a time you ate something very nourishing such as a smoothie bowl, and the difference you felt. You probably felt much more willing to tackle tasks, and you had the energy to complete them.
Therefore, one way to tackle laziness is to improve your diet. For example, replacing chips with some healthy snacks like raw fruits and veggies will help your body digest the food easier and give you more energy. Highly processed foods cause your digestive system to work more than necessary, using excess energy that could have been used to help you do something else.
Lack of self-esteem
Sometimes laziness is due to an underlying cause such as a deep-rooted emotional belief. Many people who appear to be lazy are actually paralyzed from getting things done because they suffer from low self-esteem. If someone struggles to believe they are capable and good enough to do something, they will likely procrastinate and keep putting it off, which from the outside looks like they are being lazy.
What’s more, people with low self-esteem spend a large amount of their energy internalizing feelings of anger, sadness, and guilt towards themselves. So not only do they have no confidence to do things but also less energy.
Lack of passion
Another underlying issue that may cause laziness is a lack of passion or purpose. If someone does not feel passionate about something, it is much harder to do that said thing. For example, if you are forcing yourself to go to the gym to get fit but hate running on a treadmill, you will struggle to beat procrastination. However, if you choose a fitness activity that you enjoy, whether it’s yoga, pilates, or dance, the passion you feel towards it will prevent you from being lazy.
Life purpose is closely linked to passion and another root cause of laziness. If you find meaning in your job, you will do it without effort. However, if you don’t find what you do purposeful, you’ll battle laziness at work.
According to AsapScience, the lack of desire to do certain activities may be linked to your DNA, specifically the “couch potato” gene. This “couch potato gene” is a mutation that influences and regulates your activity levels. This mutated gene does not have the dopamine receptor of the normal gene. Dopamine plays a massive role in pleasure and motivation, so getting up and doing things without this receptor is harder.
The good news (or bad) is that not everyone has this couch potato gene. So if laziness is not something you struggle with, you most likely do not have this gene. However, remember that this is just one possible reason for laziness. So you should consider if the other reasons could cause your lazy feelings before blaming your DNA.
How does yoga help you overcome laziness?
Most of the time, laziness is an attitude problem or a mindset that needs to be changed. However, sometimes laziness can be due to stiffness in the body. We may not consciously acknowledge this stiffness, but it restricts us from getting up and getting things done.
Think about it, if you feel tight and in slight pain when you get off the couch and walk around, you’ll naturally prefer to stay seated. However, in this situation, staying still makes things worse. What you need is to move your body with light yoga stretches. This will relieve the stiffness, release tension, and improve the energy flow throughout your body.
Yoga banishes laziness by increasing mental and physical vitality, discipline, and motivation. A surplus of energy is an effective solution to fighting laziness. If you have more energy, you’re more likely to tackle a project you’ve been putting off. In addition, building a new habit of yoga practice strengthens the qualities of discipline and motivation. This will help you fight your impulse to be lazy and make better choices.
How to use yoga to break a habit of being lazy
If you don’t have much previous experience with yoga, you may be interested in trying it out to see if it helps you overcome laziness. Using yoga to overcome laziness is an excellent start. However, it’s crucial to integrate a regular yoga practice into your life to truly banish laziness. That being said, we know that creating a new habit is not easy. So here are four ways you can build a regular yoga practice and banish laziness for good.
Get into the habit of unrolling your yoga mat
It’s natural not to want to move your body sometimes. However, no matter how much you do, yoga practice boosts energy, making it easier to get off the couch and work on something.
You’ve probably heard or read many stories about people starting new habits to improve their quality of life. For example, those who started running began by putting their running shoes on and going for a short walk. And those who became lifelong meditators began by sitting with their eyes closed for one minute.
As you can see, making an effort to unroll your yoga mat and sit on it, even without doing any yoga asana, is an excellent start. So next time you reach for the TV remote control, grab your yoga mat instead. This new habit will send signals to your brain, telling it that you want to incorporate something new into your life.
To make it a more pleasant experience, treat yourself to a good, environmentally friendly yoga mat that you would be happy to take and place in the visible place of your room. Avoid cheap plastic yoga mats, as they wear out quickly, create slippage, and contribute to global plastic pollution.
Keep your yoga mat in a visible place: next to your couch, table, or bed, wherever you spend the most time procrastinating. Then, every time you start talking yourself out of doing something, you’ll see your mat, which will be a reminder to get up.
Once on your mat, don’t aim to do any difficult yoga poses or practice for a specific duration. Instead, stretch lightly with some seated side stretches, twists, or other gentle postures to move your body without much effort.
Choose a yoga pose and master it
There are so many different yoga asanas that it can feel overwhelming when you first start. However, one way to stay motivated is to find a yoga asana that you like and would be happy to practice every day until you master it. Doing this will give you a focus in your practice.
Once you see how much you advance day by day and observe your body getting more robust and flexible, your self-esteem will increase. However, be mindful not to exaggerate when choosing yoga poses. For example, avoid challenging headstands, handstands, or backbends, which might cause more harm than good.
Here are a few yoga poses that you could try to master:
- Crow pose (Kakasana) – This challenging arm balance tests your strength, hip flexibility, and balance. Learning this asana could take your practice to the next level if you’ve been practicing for a while.
- Lizard pose (Utthan Pristhasana) – If you have tight hip flexors, you will likely find this pose difficult. Committing to practicing it every day will help open your hips and reduce tension and stiffness. There are many variations of Lizard Pose, so once you master one, you can try another.
- Mountain Pose (Parvatasana) or Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – While these two postures might look super easy, the Mountain pose and Downward Facing Dog have a very particular placement of the feet, hands, and head. By committing to master these basic postures, you’ll build a solid foundation for the rest of your practice.
Tip: On the first day of learning a new pose, take a video or picture of yourself doing the asana. Then compare your progress with another photo taken 2-3 weeks later. Seeing the improvement will keep you motivated and might inspire you to try different styles of yoga.
Master a yoga flow
Every style of yoga has a sequence of yoga poses. Some have challenging yoga asanas in the flows, which requires time to learn the correct alignment of each one. However, there are some sequences that you can practice as a stand-alone flow, and they are accessible to anyone regardless of fitness level. Those flows are called Sun Salutation and Moon Salutation.
Sun and Moon Salutations have relatively easy asanas that flow one after another. Simply choose one flow and practice it every day (or every second day) until you feel you can link each breath with each movement.
What’s more, you can begin by practicing each asana separately. Then once you feel ready to combine the postures in a flow, you can start practicing the full Sun or Moon Salutations at your own pace.
Join Yoga Challenges
Yoga challenges are one of the most popular and effective ways people begin practicing yoga. It encourages a person to commit to the practice for a long time, creates a sense of belonging when interacting with other participants, and, in some cases, can even have a reward for participating in it.
While yoga challenges can be very motivating and exciting, you should always be mindful to select the most suitable yoga challenge according to your own body limitations. You can choose from Instagram yoga challenges and Youtube yoga challenges.
Can laziness be a good thing?
While society gives laziness a bad rap, there might be a benefit to being a lazy person. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that some physically lazy people are mentally smarter than physically active people.
However, they found that this is only the case in people that pursue mentally stimulating activities like doing puzzles, playing an instrument, and learning something new. These people consciously preserve physical energy to use mental energy instead.
So, if you frequently skip the gym to read, study or meditate, physical laziness is not so terrible. In fact, if your job is highly mentally stimulating, preserving your physical energy could actually help prevent burnout. However, this is a different story if you don’t go running when you say you will because you can’t get out of bed or off the couch.
Useful tips for using yoga to overcome laziness
Here are a few final words of advice for creating a regular yoga routine and overcoming laziness.
- Practice yoga at the same time every day: It will help your brain recognize the new pattern and “register” it as a habit.
- Don’t overdo it: If you are new to yoga, avoid attempting challenging postures or practicing too much, as it can lead to yoga burnout or injuries.
- Get yourself a nice yoga mat and a few props: Keep them in a visible place where you can see them regularly as it will serve as a reminder to practice, and it will make you feel good when using them.
- Find a Yoga buddy: If, after implementing the above tips, you feel that yoga is boring, find yourself a buddy and practice together. This will make your yoga experience more exciting, and as you have someone to hold you accountable, you will be less likely to be lazy.
- Consider yoga as a hobby: While for some people, yoga is a lifestyle, there is a category of people who do yoga purely as fun or a social thing. If this is why you practice, look up fun yoga classes near you, such as goat, aerial, or dog yoga.
Yoga is an effective antidote to many illnesses and conditions, including the all-pervasive laziness that affects many of us. While some people struggle with procrastination more than others, yoga can help offset this trait by giving your body and mind the necessary motivation, discipline, and energy to take positive action.