Wouldn't it be amazing if we could make good, healthy choices habitual? Researchers think one of the best ways to do that is to establish a "keystone habit". A keystone habit is a foundational behavior that starts a chain reaction of positive outcomes. It's a concept discussed deeply in Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit. A keystone habit is a habit with compounding effects.
Two of the most powerful keystones habits you can develop are regular exercise and meditation, both central to yoga.
When you exercise habitually, you start eating better. You start feeling good about your body. You're less stressed. You sleep more. You procrastinate less, have more patience, laugh more. Similarly with meditation, taking time to regularly mentally center and breathe sets off a chain of psychological, physical and even spiritual benefits.
Keystone habits aren't just new habits, they are foundational habits that bring regular, small victories. These little victories have a contagious effect because they provide regular psychological fuel to make other better choices in our lives. For instance with exercising daily, we don't just get the direct physical benefits of our sweat, but the compounding, indirect benefits of the other good choices we make because of the endorphines or pride or joy we feel from exercising.
So if we can develop a keystone habit, we'll see a cascading set of other positive behaviors. Sounds great, right?
Yoga is the perfect keystone habit. We leave our mats feeling calmer, more centered, and filled with gratitude and joy. That's psychological fuel for us throughout our day to make other better choices in our lives. So make yoga your keystone habit by getting to your mat regularly!