Beginning and developing your home yoga practice, while possibly daunting at first, can bring a greater depth, discipline, and sense of independence to your practice. While nothing will replace the support and energy of being in the studio, as you visit your mat more frequently from home, you discover your own rhythm and have more time to observe what feels best in your body.
Below you’ll find 5 tips on cultivating your practice from the comfort of your home.
#1 Don’t expect it to look or feel like taking a class in the studio
Although this might seem obvious, it’s important to remember. Instead of being guided by the voice of your teacher and encouraged by the energy of students around you, you are stepping into guiding yourself. This is both empowering and at times challenging. Let your at-home practice be its own style and format that is a beneficial piece of your practice as a whole. It can also be helpful to let go of any expectations around the length of your practice. It doesn’t need to be an hour or more to be worth it. My sweet spot is usually 20-45 minutes but each time is different.
#2 Create your space
You don’t need a lot of space but do set up your yoga area with intention. Even if you roll out your mat beside your bed, let all of your yoga supplies (mat, blocks, blanket, bolster, strap) be close by to allow for more ease and convenience when you’re ready to begin.
If you don’t have blocks or a bolster, you can use a stack of books or a few bigger pillows. Get creative and don’t let the lack of props hold you back!
You may also want to have a journal, written mantra, candle, or photo nearby for inspiration and motivation. Also think about eliminating distractions and silencing your phone.
#3 Start small and simple, focus on the breath
Begin with what you know and simplicity is the name of the game. Focus on your breath to begin with, even a few deeper breaths will do. Let your movements be steady and slow. Trust that your ability to move gracefully from one pose to the next will develop in time.
As always, ground and get into your body with breath and if you get stuck along the way then come back to something you know (cat and cow or a sun salutation). You can also stay in a pose for several breaths. Some days you may focus more on movement/asana, others you might spend more time in meditation or with breath. This is all yoga and you have the freedom to focus on what you’d like within the comfort of your very own yoga space.
If you feel like you need some guidance then begin by practicing with a yoga video and perhaps give yourself some time to find your own flow after the video ends.
#4 Schedule in your practice
If you have a hard time committing and making it to your mat at home, consider scheduling it in your planner or making a note. Hold yourself accountable and remember that each practice, no matter how short, has a positive compounding effect. As it’s so often said, you never regret a yoga practice.
#5 Let go of perfection
Remember why it’s important to get to your mat in the first place – more energy, focus, calm, better breathing. The list goes on. Identify those things for yourself so when resistance arises you can quickly recall how you’ll feel afterwards.
Let go of the outcome and let yourself have a playful, experiential, and beginner’s mind!
Enjoy your practice!