We all love going to a yoga class- it’s special. But I also love my home practice. Such different but equally important benefits come from each. Often people struggle with developing a sustainable home practice. I have in the past too so I wanted to share my top tips for a home practice you will actually want to do.
Focus your attention on the areas of your body that need it most.
I always have a few things I’m working on in my body, as we all do. Whether it’s a tight band in my hamstring, a sticky hip socket, an achey shoulder or a stiff neck (and yes, those are all my things right now!) Every day my practice is different. During my practice I always work on what ever needs a little extra help in my body. Home practices give us space, time & freedom to stay in the pose a bit longer or do that last hip opener we know we need today. It’s tailored to us by us. Through our own independent practice we get to know what our body, our mind, our spirit is really asking for- we become our own best teacher.
What do I want to get out of my practise today?
Is a good question to ask before you step on your mat.
Don’t be afraid to get restorative. In the past I have had this idea in my head that the only way to do a home practise was to do lots of sun salutes, a vigorous practice & some days that is the right choice. Maybe you need to get going, create heat, move stagnation, feel strong & alive. But other days that kind of practice can leave us feeling depleted. It’s easier to make the commitment to get on your mat daily if your doing a practice that’s in line with how you are that day. Sometimes we just need to feel held, calm our nervous system & take a chill pill. Instead of skipping practise because Warrior 2 doesn’t sound appealing this morning take a restorative approach. Long holds, use props, legs up the wall, etc, or explore other areas of the practise like Yoga nidra & guided meditation.
Small & consistent is better than every now & then.
A small consistent home practice mixed in with your classes will drastically improve your practice. I find that more importantly than the length of time is choosing a few postures or exercises to work on each day. If you want to do more on a particular day then great but start small (they might take you 10 mins) & be consistent. A little every day goes a long way.
Make it easy for yourself to physically get onto your mat.
Keep your mat & props in an easily accessible place & have some floor space/wall space free so you don’t have to move furniture around. Next to the bed was always my practice space & now the living room floor with the cupboard doors being my wall space. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Find a time that works for you. This is yoga o’clock. For me it’s first thing while my daughter has her morning nap. Mornings tends to be a good time for most people & you get the added bonus of taking your new found space & body awareness into your day. But if you think you’re not a morning person & you have the time & space for an evening practice this can be a great way to wind down at the end of the day.
Becoming the kind of person you like to hang out with on the mat.
Practicing on our own gives us the space & the silence to start to tune into our internal chatter. How do we speak to ourselves during our practice? Are we kind, encouraging & gentle. Do we give ourself space to breath deeply or do we rush, always somewhere else to be in the practice or not in the practice! Do we berate ourselves, do we constantly criticise or are we a bit numb to the whole process- dreaming away somewhere else? When we commit to our practice & allow ourselves the space, gentle encouragement, praise when appropriate & have gratitude for our body, we start to become the kind of person we like to hang out with on the mat. Slowly we look forward to our practice as one of our favourite parts of the day.
Do you have a regular practice? Are you going to start one? 😉 What do you find helps draw you to your mat?