By practicing yoga at home, we can roll out the mat regardless of the class times, parking, and packed schedules…
For most of us life is very busy, which can lead to us skipping out on yoga class more often than we’d like. Rushing to make a class can add even more stress to our already packed days, thus potentially tainting the experience of the practice itself.
In a world that constantly distracts us from going within, practicing yoga at home offers us a beautiful opportunity to connect deeply to ourselves – what we need, want, and feel in every breath. Practicing on your own helps you learn to self-regulate, as opposed to simply following along even when it may not feel right. When you’re steering your own practice, you have a greater responsibility to pay attention and choose what happens next.
Practicing yoga at home is easier than you think. Here are our top tips to develop (and stick to) an at-home yoga practice:
Dedicate a Space
If possible, dedicate an area in your home that is clutter-free and uplifting (or calming) in energy. It’s extra helpful if this space is used exclusively for your yoga/meditation practice. Keep it clean and sacred. Adorn it with items that bring a grounded and serene energy. One of the most powerful things about attending a studio class is that it takes place in a room that is dedicated to the practice. The energy and expectations change when entering the room. Try to mimic this when practicing yoga at home will help with focus and the overall experience.
A good mat, and the right props (yoga blocks, straps, towels, etc) are essential to be able to drop into your practice fully. While yoga can absolutely be done simply on the floor when needed, these props will further help trigger the deep intention of practice, as well as make practicing yoga at home more enjoyable.
Start with Quiet
Before you dive into a sun salutation or a specific pose, start in a comfortable seated position or Child’s Pose. Take a few deep belly breaths and connect to how your body is feeling in that moment. Where are you holding tension? Where do feel stress? When you begin with stillness, you can see how your body and mind feel and then decide what to do based on that.
Set an Intention
Have a good, clear reason to come to your mat. Make this whatever you need for the day. It can be as simple as waking up the body before a long day, or winding down after a long day in the office. Hold the intention closely so that you stay committed to it, and allow it to change from practice to practice. Other beautiful intentions for a practice can be: gratitude, strength, self awareness, self love, etc. Read more about how to set an intention here.
Use Helpful Guiding Sources
If new to a practice (or not!), it can be incredibly helpful to follow along while getting the hang of things. Online video sources, like YogaToday are great sources. Explore practices of all lengths, types, and focuses. Try something new, or really dive into developing a strong foundation of the basics. Anyone can benefit from being guided in a yoga practice. Music and dedicated playlists can also be a huge help in setting the mood for your practice and allowing you to settle into the experience.
Commit to a Time Length
Before beginning, commit to flowing for a specific amount of time. Don’t quit early. Whether it is 5 minutes, or 90 minutes, complete your full practice with the integrity that it deserves. When practicing yoga at home it can be far more tempting to cut out early than if you were at the studio. If moments arise that trigger not knowing what to do next, breathe into it and let it ride. Witness how you react to not knowing what should come next or having empty space. There is a lot to be learned in this unguided space.
Pick a Direction
It’s always a good idea to pick a style or direction for class. Let yourself feel into what you need that day. If you’re tired, sore or anxious, choose a more restorative practice. If you’re needing to move through energy and strengthen, opt for a more vigorous practice. If you need grounding and stability, focus on standing poses. If you’ve been standing all day, make sure to add in some inversions to reverse the blood flow.
It Takes Time to Make Practicing Yoga at Home a Habit
Truth is, building a new habit can be difficult. It takes time and effort for something to become a natural part of your life. Even if you know this new practice is beneficial, it still takes time to build a habit. Trust the process. No guilt or shame are necessary on those days when you don’t make it to your mat. Practice non-judgement and keep trying. Change takes time. Give yourself permission to be a newbie here.
Anything new takes a little experimentation and planning before eventually getting in the groove. Allow yourself to lean into gaining more insight into what you need on a daily basis and how that can show up in your yoga practice.