10 Simple Steps to Creating a Home Yoga Practice You LOVE!
“If I could only just roll out my yoga mat and practice on my own everyday, that would be great.….. But I don’t know what to do or how to start.” I often hear this from my students, and I know this feeling well myself! I too used to be mystified by the idea of doing yoga on my own at home. And when I did occasionally practice on my own, it never felt as good as going to class.
But life gave me opportunities to get on my mat and develop a sweet relationship with myself while doing my own thing. One of the first times I found my groove in my home practice was after I moved to a new town and had no friends and no money to take class. It was either home practice or no practice. So I got on the mat in my little living room and slowly built up a routine. With time, I got more comfortable with exploring and not knowing if what I was doing was “right or not,” which eventually led to a feeling of play, and even satisfaction. And it was after having that precious time to practice on my own that I got more clear and motivated and decided to make the leap to do a yoga teacher training.
The next time I really deepened my home practice was after my mom passed away. I was already teaching yoga at the time, so I had a lot of friends and students at the yoga studios. But during this time of grief I didn’t always feel up to being social. I needed time to be quiet, to grieve and heal, and to let the tears flow. My home practice became a refuge for me to show up disheveled, heart broken, and uncertain of the next steps. Over time this refuge helped me transform my pain into healing.
Years later another opportunity arose for me to go deeper. I got pregnant and was hit with morning sickness, aches and pains, and a constantly changing body. I realized that I couldn’t necessarily get what I needed by going to a group class, so I decided to embrace my home practice as a way to really listen in and adjust accordingly. My home practice carried me (physically, mentally and emotionally) through 9 months of transformation, and again during the postpartum time of recovery.
The benefits of a home yoga practice are plentiful. It’s an opportunity to really listen to the teacher inside yourself. It doesn’t need to replace going to group classes, but rather it can be a compliment to taking class and give you a chance to integrate what you’ve learned, explore more deeply, and really make the practice your own. Doing yoga at home helps to maintain consistency. It’s like brushing your teeth or washing dishes- when you practice regularly it becomes more a part of your life. Fifteen minutes a day to get grounded, energized, and unwind is so much more helpful than doing a 90 minute practice once a week. Just think if you only brushed your teeth once a week!
Now, I don’t think you need to go through some major life change in order to make a home yoga practice part of your life. This is just happens to be part of my journey. But through my own experience I learned some valuable lessons on how to make a home practice less daunting, more attainable, more enjoyable and oh so rewarding. Here are 10 simple steps to creating a home yoga practice you LOVE!
- Commit- Make a conscious choice to do this, not because you “should” but because you WANT to! It all begins here. It’s not about changing who you are, but listening and honoring a calling inside to do something good for yourself.
- Start Small- No need to plan on practicing for 2 hours each day at 5am! If you are new to a home practice, begin with a do-able, shorter amount of time, maybe 15 minutes a day. The hardest part about a home practice is starting. After you get into a regular rhythm you might be inspired to practice for longer periods of time. But remember, consistency is key. It’s better to practice for 5 minutes each day than sporadically do an hour long practice each month. You will reap the benefits of a daily infusion of mindfulness and commitment to your wellbeing.
- Create a Space- If you have to clean up your room and move furniture each time you want to do yoga, you are more likely to skip it if you don’t have time to prepare. Instead, try keeping a small space that’s dedicated to your yoga. It can even be a corner of your room. Have your mat and any other props near by and ready to go.
- Schedule it!- Put it on your calendar and honor this appointment with yourself as you would honor an appointment with work or friends. If you have a dedicated time on your calendar you are more likely to practice than if you just try to fit it in when time opens up.
- Get Inspired- Make a list of yoga poses you’d like to work on. If you go to a regular group yoga class, incorporate some things you learned in class. You can also follow the simple home yoga sequence we created for you here. Once you get moving you might just get inspired to do more!
- Begin by connecting with the breath- Whether you start with a 5 minute meditation, or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and observe the breath. This is essential to setting the foundation for more mindful experience.
- End with savasana/ relaxation- The wise yogis say this is the most important part of yoga. All the stretching, strengthening, and awareness of breath have been preparation for this time to relax, let go, and to be.
- Keep Track/Journal - This is a great way to hold yourself accountable, as well as honor and appreciate your commitment to yourself. In addition to keeping track of days and times that you practice, you can write down your yoga sequence, notes about your experience, questions that arise, revelations, etc.
- Practice Gratitude and Being Enough- Whether you practice for 5 minutes or an hour a day, remember to grateful and that you are enough. And if life happens and you don’t get to your yoga mat that day, you are still enough. Gratitude is a mindset.
- Practice Forgiveness and Acceptance- Yoga is not about perfecting each pose and attaining an end goal. Yoga is about being present and honoring yourself in the moment. It’s an opportunity to let go of judgements and expectations of how you should or shouldn’t feel, and allow yourself to be. It’s an opportunity for inquiry and discovery. It’s a way to be more at home with yourself.
To support you in getting started on your home yoga practice, I've collaborated with my good friend Paloma of My Dharma to create a free gift that you can Download Here The free pdf includes a summary of the 10 steps, as well as a simple yoga sequence that’s easy to follow. Included are tips and benefits for each pose. Remember, this sequence is just a source of inspiration. When you get into your yoga rhythm, you might just be inspired to do more! The hardest thing about doing a home practice is starting, So make a decision and get started!
Ready to get to work on your Home Yoga Practice? I have a FREE Guide to help you get started! Check out the link below.