How To Get A Home Yoga Practice Started And Why It’s Surprisingly Easy
Empower Your Yoga Practice
Okay full disclosure first: I am a home-practice kind of yogini. I’ve moved coffee tables to open up living room space. I’ve rolled out my mat in the three-foot-wide corridor between my bed and bookshelf. I’ve even flowed through a sun salutation or two in the kitchen, and many more than that in the backyard. My home is my yoga studio. And for good reason.
A home or online yoga practice offers numerous benefits to practitioners. Practicing yoga in a space in which you feel comfortable and relaxed provides rich opportunities to connect mind and body for personal growth. It is an open and flexible alternative to studios with set schedules and crowded spaces. And it travels with you. Whether at home or on the road, yoga and your dedicated self-time are always available.
My belief in the merits of a home practice does not discredit the value of yoga studios. There are many reasons for students to practice yoga in a community and under the watchful eye of an experienced teacher. A balanced routine may in fact involve both a community practice aspect and an individual practice aspect, thus yoking nourishment from others with independent processing time on your own.
Before we dig into the big how-to question, let’s further explore why it’s time to roll out the mat at home.
The Obvious Reasons for Practicing Yoga at Home
Your yoga practice can fit your schedule.
In today’s world, time is valuable, and a flexible schedule is essential. Sometimes you can enjoy a full hour class, and other times yoga can only fit in 10-minute increments between to-do’s. Taking class at a studio requires more than the time you spend in poses. There is an extra time and energy expenditure required to travel to and from the studio, to find parking, and to take care of transactions at the front desk.
While studios have a set class schedule, a home practice is built for flexibility. If you can only practice while the baby sleeps, your mat is nearby. Booked all day? Enjoy a calming flow before bed. The beauty of the system is that you can practice yoga whenever it suits your schedule.
Your yoga practice can fit your pocketbook.
All too often, financial limitations force students to stop attending classes at studios right when they are on the verge of exciting transformation. The price of classes can add up, and it is only compounded by the extra costs of travel to and from the studio. A home practice can be completely free if you are comfortable with developing your own safe sequencing. If you prefer to be guided through classes by experienced teachers, consider online classes for a fraction of the cost of studio classes.
The (Perhaps) Surprising Reasons for Practicing Yoga at Home
Your yoga practice can become an opportunity to cultivate self-determination.
Not only is your home or online yoga practice flexible and affordable, it provides an opportunity to cultivate the virtues of initiative, self-determination, and diligence. Your yoga practice will help you to develop personal resolve – you won’t have to rely on others to motivate your personal growth.
As these virtues are developed in your yoga practice, they may also trickle into other aspects of your life, such as how you conduct yourself on the path to advancing your career, or what diet and wellness choices you make to support and sustain your health.
Your yoga practice can signify your priorities.
A home practice is a stand for reorganizing our priorities to include more time for self-reflection. It’s an opportunity to set an example for valuing focused quiet time. Your demonstration of this value may just rub off on those around you and inspire your partner, children, and friends to consider the importance of self-care in their own lives too.
Your yoga practice can transform your home.
If your home is not yet the sanctuary you would like it to be, consider the impact of your yoga practice on your personal space. In yoga, we draw energy in from our environment and send energy back out. After a dedicated yoga session, your home may vibrate at a different frequency than it did before practice.
Your space will be full of the love, openness, and patience that you cultivated while breathing and posing. In addition, practicing at home might inspire you to invest in the tidiness and cleanliness of your home.
Your yoga practice should be experienced in the real world.
If the only time you cook is in a cooking class, you’re missing out on the opportunity to apply the lessons you’ve learned in your own kitchen. Likewise, if the only time you practice yoga is in a studio, you’re missing out on the chance to engage with the material of yoga in the real world, including times when you are challenged by relationships, obligations, and emotional reactions.
Your physical, mental, and spiritual engagement with the work of yoga can flow into all aspects of your life. And bringing yoga home is an awesome way to start.
The Big How-To Question
So, how do you transition from talking about a home yoga practice to making one happen? The following are a few strategies to get you to the mat.
Take a moment to get ready. If you’re hungry or thirsty, enjoy a light snack or drink first so that you won’t associate your yoga practice with the discomfort of hunger pangs. Then prepare your space. Turn your cell phone off, and take care of any other potential distractions. Make the experience more fun by delighting your senses with music or candles.
Ward off burnout by starting small and setting realistic goals. Begin by dedicating just 10-20 minutes to breathing and poses. Always acknowledge how you feel at the start of your practice – ready, resistant, tired, excited, distracted – and let go of any expectations. Gradually work up to longer practice sessions as you feel ready.
If you are not yet familiar with the basic pose groups and safe progressive sequencing, fear not! You do not have to create a balanced class on your own to enjoy a home practice. There are many resources available online to support your yoga practice. YogaNatyamOnline.com, GaiamYogaStudio.com, and YogaGlo.com, for example, each have a full library of classes online that can be searched by level, length, and focus, and streamed anytime. Find resources and teachers online that you connect with in the same way that you would look for a teacher you connect with in a studio.