My yoga practice really deepened and developed when I started to practice at home by myself. When you give yourself the opportunity to practice alone with only your inner guidance leading your movement (no online classes or DVDs!), it can open up a new opportunity for healing. There is much value in practicing at home. Some of the reasons you might want to consider an at-home practice are:
– If classes in a studio are too costly or it is tough for you to make time to attend a class.
– An at-home practice gives you the chance to tune in and reconnect with your body, which usually does not happen during the day.
– Through personal practice, you can develop a very personal connection to your yoga practice where you truly listen to your body, do what your body asks, rather than doing what someone else is telling you to do. Very rarely does this experience happen in a studio class.
Usually people find it difficult to start and then maintain a long term at-home yoga practice. I have been practicing at home for about 4 years, almost every day. Below are some tips you can use to start and maintain your own practice that I have found helpful throughout the years.
Tip #1: Create a space for your practice.
I practice in the same place every day: My living room/kitchen. I live in a very tiny apartment in Brooklyn, and this requires that I move around some furniture in order to make space for my mat. This also requires that I ask my partner for the space to practice. I understand that this is not always possible, but it is worth asking if you live with someone. If you have kids, many parents I know involve their kids in their practice.
Make sure the space is clean and somewhat free from clutter. I like to practice near a window and light some incense or a candle. Whatever you chose to do, try to create some ritual around it and be intentional. You are transforming your home space into something new, so take that seriously.
Tip #2: Keep your expectations low
What I mean by this is some days you will only be able to fit in a 10 minute yoga session, and know that 10 minutes is enough. 10 minutes of simple breathing and movement will create a mind body connection that is important for your health and well being. Listen to your body. Sometimes my yoga practice is an hour and a half long and looks very similar to a studio class. Sometimes my body is exhausted and my yoga practice is rolling around on my mat or sometimes my practice turns into a personal dance party. Even with a short time devoted to your practice, if you listen to your body, you will reap the benefits.
Tip # 3: Practice in the morning
It is much easier to make time in the morning to include a practice. It might just mean waking up 15 minutes earlier. Plus if you start your day connecting to your breath and body, you will most likely enter your day feeling more grounded. Also, for some people, the morning is the quietest time they have.
Tip # 4: Include a savasana
Savasana is easily one of the most important parts of your yoga practice. Include it in your practice, even if you have to put on a timer to make sure you do not fall asleep.
Tip # 5: Practice (almost) everyday
Even if you do not feel like it, lay out your mat and lay on it. Most of the time, you will end up doing a little bit of yoga and breathing that will benefit you. Part of being a yogi is having self-discipline, and a regular practice will afford you greater benefits.
Tip #6: Continue to attend classes
When you can, attend a class or take a class online. This will help to keep your own practice fresh and will give you some new ideas to try out at home.
Try it out! See how it goes, and remember to leave self-judgement and guilt out of it! This is for you to cultivate a little more self-love in your life. Most importantly, ENJOY!