How to Create a Home Yoga PracticeMar 07, 2018
If you’re trying to start a home yoga practice, you might have noticed something - practicing yoga at home is hard. Then again, just like any other disciplined practice, yoga is always hard. But I think, like with so many other of life’s challenges, the biggest strategic change you can make is to your own mindset.
Consciously decide that you are going to create an awesome yoga space for yourself, and that you are going to have a transformative home practice, and you will. But if you tell yourself that you can’t practice at home because of any of the million distractions that can keep us from practicing, then guess what? You won’t. Our thoughts create our reality - don’t limit your practice potential with limiting beliefs.
That said, I know it’s easier said than done, and I know how “out there” this all might sound, so here are my practical tips from seven years of practicing mostly by myself. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’ll tell you what - I’ve experienced pretty remarkable positive movement forward. Staying inspired can be tough, but, if I can do it, so can you. So, without further ado, here are my Home Practice Essentials:
Find a space. Having a dedicated space is helpful. You don’t have to dedicate an entire room to yoga (let’s face it - for us city dwellers, that wouldn’t be feasible). But clearing away some clutter and holding a corner of a room as a sacred yoga space can be helpful. Make sure the space feels special to you, so you can provide yourself with an opportunity to step out of your usual life and into a more spiritual realm.
Invest a little money into your home practice. If you need them, buy a mat and props. Consider getting a statue of a deity or some incense so you can create an altar. Get whatever essentials you need in order to stay in the mindset that your home practice is real practice.
Get online. There are so many amazing resources at your fingertips. (For instance, I offer a free Ashtanga essentials online course, along with many other video lessons.)
Let go of the dos and don’ts. Try not to focus on what’s right or wrong - if you are doing yoga on your mat, it is right. Don’t judge your practice as being good or bad; just remember that, if you practiced, it was good. Plain and simple.
Let this be your time. Thoughts are normal, of course, but try to put away your worries. You can pick them up after, if you want, but sometimes you’ll find that they’re nowhere to be found!
Turn inward. To do this you need to get rid of external distractions. Phone off. TV off. Notifications off. Anything that could distract you and pull you away from your mat needs to be turned off. Instead, tune into the sound of your breath and your own body.
Schedule time. The more consistent you can be with your practice, the better. Do your best to make your home practice a regular habit. The easiest way to do this can be to piggyback off something that’s already a part of your routine. Do you go running every day? Try doing yoga after you finish your run. Do you journal in the morning? Tack your yoga practice onto your journaling or meditating. Personally, I’ve found that piggybacking my meditation practice onto my asana practice has helped me gain consistency that I never had before with either.
Ambush your excuses. Do you have an excuse that keeps you off your mat? Are you too tired? Busy? Did you eat too much? Get clear on what your excuses are and make a plan of attack to ambush them and then cut them off before they can prevent you from practicing. For example, is the Internet your distraction that keeps you from your mat? Keep your computer closed, turn off the data on your phone. Go practice outside. You have to have the mindset that you are going to have a super practice and deny yourself the excuse that it won’t happen.
Start small. The most important thing is that you make it to your mat. This can be for five minutes or thirty. Extend to yourself the same compassion that you would extend to others, and love yourself for getting on your mat at all.
One of the purposes of a yoga practice is to make us feel more human. Remember, you are not alone - not even when you practice at home. Whatever struggles you are facing with getting onto your mat, I can promise you someone else is having the same struggle. We’re all in it together. Take some comfort in knowing that, even when you practice on your own, you are part of a greater community.
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