I will show you how I got from doing no active relaxation at all to doing it daily and for multiple years in a row now. It does not matter if you do Yoga, Qi Gong or Meditation. Getting into a habit is the same.
In my twenties, I haven’t done any active relaxation techniques at all. You are open; you are naive, and your body can handle more damage than you realize. I know your mileage may vary, but it was for me. I did not think about it at all; I didn’t even know what stress was exactly. But the longer you work and older you get this skill is declining, and one-day adulthood punches you in the face or stomach. For me it hit my ears; I got a tinnitus from one day to another. It sucks, but it was my wake-up call that something went wrong in my life. And, it gave me a reason, a strong reason to do something. Where we are already at the first step.
For me, it was to get rid of the stupid noise in my ears. For you it might be something different; maybe to quiet your mind, leaving stress related work events at work, fixing your posture; whatever it is it must be your reason, and it must be pushing or pulling you,i.e., pushing you away from bad stress or pulling you to ears without noise like in my case. The important lesson I learned over the years and with others habits too is you really want to have the outcome; your reason.
Sure you can die hard jump into a daily routine, but chances are you will drop out soon. At the time the tinnitus got me, I absolutely hated routines, and I had no clue what to do. Luckily, I found a Qi Gong class near my home and took it once a week. Do it and stick with it. I did it for a couple of years and seldom missed a class. It is better to do 45 sessions in a year then starting in a rush and dropping off after 10.
I absolutely loved Qi Gong, and I still do today. But it was a hard time learning the movements and it was also tough to accept my limiting flexibility. I also had a hard time filter the, for me at that time, esoteric stuff out of it. You will have a steep learning curve; be it for Yoga, Qi Gong, Meditation or any other method. So choose a method you love and stick with it. And go easy.
There will be many bumps on your road, and they will get you eventually off track. Don’t fret and get right back on track. So, if you attain your yoga course every Monday and Friday and for whatever reason life hits you with you can’t go on Monday, accept it and continue on Friday as nothing did happen. It does not help you to get angry over it and indulge in self-doubts or whatever you do. Just accept it and continue next time. The more you do that, the better you stay on track and the better you get back on.
This is a major one for me. If I want to do anything on a daily basis like my Qi Gong, I must remove any obstacles in my way. Like the steps before they might be different for you. My biggest obstacles are distance, other people and time. If I want to stick with it and develop a daily habit, I must be able to do it at home, so I don’t have to go or drive anywhere, I must be able to do it alone, and my practicing must be short. Doing 90 minutes of Qi Gong is great but doing it daily will set you up for failure. I find 10 to 20 minutes are perfect.
After practicing the above ways for several years, I set a new goal for me and went on the journey to practice Gi Gong daily. I made the first few attempts without any tool and tried to think daily about practicing. It worked for some time, but the setbacks eventually came too often, and I struggled. But I did not give up, and finally, I found the Habit Streak Techniques and with it many apps helping you to your track your efforts. The technique is plain and simple. For every day you did practice the habit you want to build you mark that day with an X. Your goal is not to get as many X in a row as possible. If you miss a day, you start a new row. It really helped me, and I used it for around two years; my setback rate went way down. Eventually, I got tired of marking in the app and am practicing now again without any tool but still maintaining a great success rate.
With methods like the Habit Streak, it is tempting to change several habits at the same time. I tried this multiple times with different habits, and it quickly became too much work and eventually I stopped. What worked for me so far is to get into max two habits at the same time. And they should not be too close; so doing Pilates and Yoga might be too much stress for your body as it was for mine when trying to develop a daily habit of doing pushups and pullups; if a did too many repetitions a day my muscles strained too much, and I had to pause the other day. Recently I started doing James Altuchers Idea Machine exercise and doodling as new habits, and they work just fine together.
Less is more here.
I hope it helps you develop your own daily relaxation practice. Tell me how it is going for you. What do you want to archive? What are your obstacles?