A home practice is a great way to go deeper into your yoga practice as well as build your understanding and knowledge of yoga. A home practice can be defined as your own yoga practice outside of a class setting without a teacher leading you. You essentially become your own teacher. Developing your own home yoga practice can be challenging and even scary! It forces you to be comfortable in your own skin! Many people find it difficult not having someone guide you through a yoga practice. This is the beauty of it, to create and develop it yourself and make it your own! So if you think you don’t have the time or don’t know what to do for a home yoga practice, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Listen to your body
During the course of my yoga practices I have learned how to listen to my body. In order to maintain a consistent practice, I needed to start practicing at home. But my first few times were not easy. I would push myself into poses that either I was not ready for or that I “thought” I could do because I saw someone else do it. I never took time to really listen to my body and what it was saying. I know better these days and I’ve learned to be in-tune with what it’s telling me.
2. Clear the clutter
This may seem like a challenge at first, clearing out a spot in your home for your yoga practice. I remember laying down my mat in my apartment where my only space to practice was the perimeter of my yoga mat. After the first Sun Salutation, I was looking around my room searching for things to pick up because I had not cleared out a more suitable space for my yoga practice. I knew I needed an area that needed to be clutter free as not to distract me from my practice. The area you choose doesn’t have to be large, just a spot for you and your yoga that’s clear of clutter and junk.
3. Withdraw the senses
At a yoga studio, you are asked to put away your belongings so you’re not distracted by your personal possessions so you can give yourself your undivided attention. This is not easy at home when you have things to do or people there to distract you. In Yoga, we practice Pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses. It took me a while to feel unaffected by my home environment and to remain focused in my practice.
4. Embrace the challenge
Ask yourself, “When am I feeling compelled to step off my mat?” “When do I give up?” The answer is simple…when the practice becomes challenging. As soon as I began practicing yoga I began to feel the challenge that I was searching for. Not just the asanas, but the deeper connection I felt towards my inner self. I realized over time, that I was limiting my potential to grow. I was not allowing the poses to work and exiting early was a metaphor to how I reacted to other challenging situations in my life off the mat.
5. Stay consistent
If you only have time for a few rounds of Sun Salutation it’s better than doing nothing at all! There are mornings when I just want to sleep. I practice daily because I know yoga requires the consistency to keep at it, to make it a habit. I know that yoga makes me feel better, that it jumpstarts my day in a way that drinking coffee never did. Remember that consistency is key, even if you only practice 15 minutes a day!
The rewards of a home practice
While it may take time to develop the discipline for a home practice, it can be very rich and rewarding. You can try new things and have the freedom to explore your own creative movement. If you’re just getting started or experiencing some of these similar challenges, keep going, stay committed. Make yourself and your practice a priority. You will not regret it! Just know that a practice is anything you need that day. A quick break, a deep breath, and a little bit of patience is all you need to get yourself going. Enjoy!
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