How to develop a home practice
Wednesday 2 November
So you go to a yoga class weekly, maybe twice a week and you love it, it makes you feel great. But what do you do when your yoga teacher is on holiday or you yourself are away from home and not in your regular routine? Does your yoga mat get rolled up at the end of class and only come back out a week later? A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of practicing yoga at home, we tend to come up with lots of reasons why not or are just not sure where to start. Here are a few tips that I have learnt along the way that might help you to start a home practice and stick to it!
Find a space.
You only need enough space to roll out your mat so even just a space next to your bed or in the living room will do. It is nice to have a calm space in which to practice, somewhere you can leave your mat unrolled ready for you at any time of the day but if you don't have that just work with what you have. I have lived in plenty of houses where I have literally just had enough space for my mat and that will do! Having said that it is good to be a clean and tidy space. Looking at mess doesn't help you to focus on your practice. The more you get into your home practice the more you will learn what kind of space you like to practice in.
Set achievable targets.
I made this mistake for years, and I'm not kidding, literally years of saying to myself "right I need to get up at 6am and do an hour and a half practice because thats what you are supposed to do". Well as you can imagine that did not happen, it was way too ambitous and to be honest just wasn't appealing to me so of course the alarm goes off, gets switched off, you go back to sleep and then feel bad for not practicing. Set yourself a realistic aim - 10 minutes on your mat at a time that you can fit it in without thinking about what else you need to do that day. And if you can get yourself on your mat for 10 minutes the chances are you will stay there for half an hour and thats not a bad amount of time to practice, especially if you do this more than once a week.
Make your practice enjoyable.
Your home practice doesn't have to mirror your weekly yoga class. Choose poses you enjoy doing and you are more likely to get yourself on your mat! Some days you might just feel like spending your whole practice reclined doing gentle poses - go with it. Other days you might feel like you need to do lots of strong poses and sun salutes. Go with what you feel, practice the poses that make you feel good and your yoga practice will become something that nourishes you rather than something you "should do more of".
Easy to say, slightly harder to do but you will find that the more consistent you can be with your home practice, the more it will just start to become part of your life. Yoga is such an amazing tool for physical, emotional and spiritual maintenance that you will never regret making it a regular part of your day. Figure out when during the week that you can fit in that 10 minutes or half hour and make the commitment to stick to it. Repetition becomes habit and this practice is a healthy habit to create in your life.
Okay yes Yoga helps to improve flexibility in our bodies...but lets stay flexible in our minds too. Most of us have many other demands on our lives, family and friends are important so try and strike that balance between finding space for your practice and space for your family and friends. Practice with friends, practice with your kids.....take your yoga outside...have a stretch at work...show your coleagues some yoga!
Mainly just enjoy spending that time on yourself. Even if you are only on your mat for five minutes, relish that five minutes that you have given yourself to drop in and feel connected.
Namaste Yogis xxx