Moving your yoga practice from the studio to your home can be challenging. Unlike the studio, where your session fee holds you accountable, finding accountability at home can be a much more difficult task—especially when there’s laundry calling or yard work waiting. But nurturing a home practice is important to developing a well-rounded yoga practice. Here are essential tips on strengthening your home yoga practice.
Eliminate the Bait
Don’t let all the inviting bait existing in your home draw you away from a focused home practice. Before each home session, eliminate the distractions:
- Download your brain and write a to-do list to help quiet your mind
- Turn your phone off and leave it in a different room
- Turn off other electronic devices that may be distracting (TV, radios, game consoles)
- Close computer programs
- Place a note on the front door to avoid interruptions
- Avoid setting timers for food, clothes, or other chores
- Remove animals that could be distracting
If you’ll be practicing when other family members will be home, place a polite “Do not Disturb” sign on the door. While simple, this sign exists as a visual reminder, especially for children, that you shouldn’t be disturbed unless an emergency arises. Clearly communicate that this time is for you!
Before beginning a home practice, it may be helpful to pay for several private sessions. During these sessions, your yoga teacher can help you master the basics and assist you in understanding proper body alignment and breathing techniques for a variety of poses. Investing in private classes will deepen your understanding of postures and how to safely enter and exit them. While attending a class, a teacher may offer adjustments to students to ensure alignment and safety, but you’ll be in charge of everything at home. Begin your home practice well informed and confident!
A Can-Do Plan
You schedule everything else in your life, right? Doctor appointments, dentist appointments, nights out with friends…remember to schedule yourself into your life. Take the time to schedule self-care every day; sit down and figure out the best time for you to develop a home practice uninterrupted. Can you rise earlier? Stay up later? Practice before lunch? Whether you commit to a daily practice, or begin by scheduling yourself to enjoy the mat once or twice a week, it’s crucial to treat yourself as important. Block the time on the calendar and show up for every session—even if it’s just waking up and rolling out the mat.
Belong to Songs
Human beings react to sound; certain sounds can soothe while others can energize. What kinds of sounds would best enhance your home practice? If you like the sounds played during your regular yoga class, ask if the studio offers the CD for sale. Experiment with different kinds of music; music without words, music with words; nature sounds, cultural sounds; louder music, softer music. Once you’ve concluded the best type of music for your home practice, make a playlist and belong to the songs.
A Plumed Room
While you don’t control the environment at the studio where you practice, you can better manipulate the environment of your home (or backyard when the weather’s nice). Explore your preferences: do you prefer dim lighting to encourage a focus on body attunement, or bright, natural light to awaken the senses? Do you prefer windows open, with the world coming in, or windows shut to support quiet? Do you prefer diffused scents in the room, or a scent-free environment? Try a variety of environmental changes until you find an environment that encourages both focus and relaxation.
Both websites such as YouTube and on-demand television programs offer wonderfully diverse yoga programs that home practitioners may find ideally suited to their needs. Just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can’t still follow a teacher. To find the best guides online, narrow your search to exactly what you’re looking for such as “10 minute Yoga Flow”, “20 Minute Beginner Yoga”, “Detoxifying Yoga”, or “Cardio Yoga”. Be sure that the instructor is a minimum of 200hr certified, offers safety precautions and pose modifications. Remember that you know your body best and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.. Your studio teachers may have produced video or audio practices available for purchase which are more in line with the yoga style you to which you are accustomed.
While your weekly class may be an hour or more, finding the same amount of time at home in addition to the studio may be difficult. Manage such expectations to benefit your life. If you only have 30 minutes in the morning, dedicate those 30 minutes with purpose. It’s better to dedicate 30 solid minutes in the morning rather than struggle through an hour in the evenings when you’re exhausted from a long day and simply need to sleep.
Authenticate and Celebrate
Part of the allure in cultivating a strong home practice involves your ability to celebrate your practice. You’re doing this for you: your mind, your body, your soul. Don’t overthink when you’re moving into, holding, or moving out of poses. We are all imperfect and each pose needn’t be perfect to provide benefits. Celebrate your practice instead of tearing it apart on the mat. The more positivity you approach your practice with, the more you’ll want to practice.
Remember: your home yoga practice should benefit your body, mind and spirit. Use this time to deepen your understanding of yoga: challenge and connect with yourself. Commit to the time you set aside and show up. The most important aspect of a home practice is just that you do it!