You’re busy. I’m busy. Everyone is busy. And while your favorite studio may offer classes from 6 am to 9 pm, the one YOU want to attend isn’t always at a time you’re able to attend. So how do you keep up with your yoga practice?
A home practice may be the right answer for you.
It seems intimidating at first. You don’t have a teacher telling you what to do. You don’t have other students to follow. And your living room with all of your home comforts may not seem like the ideal setting. But it can be done!
Here are 5 steps for starting a home yoga practice:
1. Clear some space. Sometimes pushing just the coffee table out of the way is enough room for you to set up your mat. Give yourself a little bit of breathing room in all four directions.
2. Minimize distractions. Just like in class, put your phone on silent and leave it out of sight. Turn off the TV, the radio and any other pointless background noise. Let the dog out to the backyard to run around as it pleases. Dim the lights or turn on a lamp to give the room some ambience.
3. Take the time to get in the moment. Once you have everything set up, stand or sit with your eyes closed and take some deep breaths. Tune out the rest of your day and let yourself focus for the 30, 60, or 90 minutes you’re giving yourself.
4. Start with something familiar. Do some sun salutations or just peddle your feet out in downward dog. Hang out in triangle pose (don’t forget to do both sides!) or pigeon or even child’s pose. Start with what you are most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong!
5. Explore, play and have fun. Here’s where your home yoga practice has many more advantages than a led class. Love forward folds? Enjoy 8 breaths, 10 breaths, 20… it’s up to you. Working on arm balances? Spend 15 minutes playing with physics to find that shift in weight instead of the 5 minutes available at the end of class. Reluctant Ashtangi kept a steady home practice, working on her backbend, and made some great progress along the way.
Bonus: 6. Always enjoy savasana. It’s the best part of yoga.
The beauty of the home practice is you can focus on challenging yourself or completely relaxing or mixing things up for however you’re feeling that day. You don’t necessarily have to do things “in order” or for a prescribed amount of time. It lets you work on things you may not have enough time to do in class and lets you SKIP things that aren’t of interest.
It’s a different dynamic than a teacher-led class, but you’ll find that it’s rewarding on its own and as a complement to classes. And better yet! Yoga is very portable. You can take these same principles on the road and practice in your hotel room.