The Real Deal: How To Develop A Home Yoga Practice

4 min read

For many of us, our involvement in yoga begins when we first walk into a group class at a yoga studio or gym. It’s pretty easy to understand why yoga classes are so popular—a yoga class is a conveniently timed slice of serenity in which you can slip into a peaceful environment free from distraction for some ‘you time.’

Yoga teachers have it all under their control. From the soothing music to the mood lighting and the guided sequence of poses, you are offered modifications that suit your body. It can be not easy to attend yoga classes as often as one would like.

Imagine if you were able to do yoga on your own at home and reap the same benefits as a group class. Home practice is an excellent way to incorporate yoga into your life and experience it differently.

It can be a bit confusing to try and develop a yoga practice at home in a messy bedroom. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Create a Space

The question of where I can set up my mat to begin my practice at home is a major obstacle. As I share a townhouse with my partner, there is no dedicated room for yoga/meditation with a closed door to allow me to practice privately.

This lack of a ‘yoga room’ has been an excuse for me to avoid practicing many times! It’s not the physical space but the space you create with your breath and your awareness that counts. This can happen anywhere.

Your space for yoga practice can be as big and round as your mat, so long you don’t bump into table legs or doors. This being said, small changes can create a more present space in your home.

You could experiment by combining a few mala beads, a candle, incense, and an image that inspires or helps you focus to create a mini altar. Set up a speaker dock to play music that will help you tune into your space.

It takes a lot of trial and error to create a comfortable yoga space at home, but most importantly, it requires a commitment to show up.

Establish a time frame.

Self-regulating your practice means that you don’t have a teacher to tell you how long it has been. It’s helpful for me to set a timer to help me relax and enjoy my practice without constantly checking the clock.

I usually set two timers. One to remind me to get into Savasana and the other to wake up from Savasana. You can choose from a wide range of alarm sounds on your smartphone. This is great because you might prefer a harp tone to a loud foghorn, which may not fit with your practice.

Move Your Body

You may be sitting on your mat, scratching your head, wondering what you should do. When it comes to sequencing a yoga practice, simplicity is the key.

Start with what you already know and work your way up! Start with some Sun Salutations and then move on to some balancing postures. Finish with some slow Hip Openers. You can do just a few Sun Salutations, or you can take a yin-style approach and focus on one or two poses that you hold for longer.

Listen to your body. Avoid practicing only poses you think you are already “good at,” and instead, give yourself a balanced yoga practice.

Check Yourself

If you don’t focus on what you are doing, then you are not practicing yoga. What’s the difference between yoga and stretching? The upstairs activity. If there are no lights on, then nobody is home.

During asana, our goal is to remain mentally present and focused on our breathing. It’s harder than it seems, especially in a domestic environment. While playing Warrior II, it’s easy to lose focus on your fingers and look at the laundry on the couch.

You, as a yoga practitioner, can choose to either follow the distraction path to its logical conclusion by stopping your practice, folding your laundry, or at least moving the clothes out of view, or accept the challenge of shifting your focus to your body, breath, and Sankalpa.

You will almost certainly experience more distractions when practicing at home compared to a group class in a studio. This is the beauty of home-based practice. You can practice mindfulness, acceptance of yourself, and presence in the present moment anywhere.

Flexibility is key in our hectic lives. Yoga is a practice that can be taken anywhere. All you need is a yoga mat and the willingness to listen to yourself. You can experience yoga in a whole new way by cultivating your home practice.

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