The first thing people say to me when I tell them I do my daily practice at home is, “How do you keep that up? It’s so hard.” At one time, I absolutely agreed with these remarks. I was so used to going into the studio every day that I didn’t see how I’d ever do it at home and regularly.
Well I’ll tell you what….
Having a regular home practice can be just as great as going to the studio! Don’t get me wrong, there are most definitely some benefits to getting to see your teacher regularly, but there are many things that can happen in life to make this difficult to accomplish. Does this mean my practice should suffer? No way!!
“Where there is a will, there is way. ” – This is a saying for a reason.
If you want to make practising at home a reality, there are some easy ways to help keep yourself motivated to start and maintain a home practice. I practice exclusively at home and have for the last four months. I was doing two-three practices a week prior to that time at the studio with my remaining three-four practices at home as well. I had been doing that for about two years, since I had my son and began practicing again. Going to the studio is not something I can do right now. The beauty of yoga is that you can really do it anywhere you have enough space to roll out your mat.
So what can you do if going to the studio isn’t an option for you or you feel like doing it at home is “too hard”?
Here are some helpful tips for making your home practice aspirations an exciting reality:
1. Have a Regular Practice Space
The place you practice doesn’t have to be a cork heated floor with yoga art and a special paint job to be your space. It is more important that you have a place that is open enough to accommodate your movements and above all, provide consistency. By this I mean, always try to do your yoga in the same place. I practiced in my living room for some time until winter and then I moved it to a room in the upstairs of my home. The space was smaller and my little heater really made it nice and toasty. The important point being, I went to the same spot every day. By doing this you will become used to doing yoga in it and it will become a motivating ritual within itself. Just like going to the same studio does this.
2. Create a Routine
I laughed when I wrote create a routine because I thought doing my practice at the same time each day was important but the when part isn’t a make or break point for me. Having some flexibility with the time of day you can do your practice opens up more time for you to get it in. While for the most part I practice while my son is napping, the reality is that I practice in the evening sometimes or in the super early morning (if I’m lucky). And so in my experience, the “when” is not important for a routine. If you can make a consistent time, it is helpful but not necessary.
What you do to prepare for your practice is what I would like to emphasize for routine building. This process alone is the most important motivator that will contribute to a consistent home practice.
I mean who wants to prepare for nothing? LoL. I usually put my space heater on, and while the room is warming up, I like to go and brush my teeth. I unroll my mat into my spot and get into the clothing I like to practice in. Seems simple enough right? Even on days I don’t feel like doing it, if I end up at the top of my mat all ready to go, I will most likely go ahead with it.
3. Create Small Goals
This one is for the days where you feel extremely unmotivated. Perhaps you are sore, or tired or have a lot going on in your life. All reasons to practice!!
I do my routine to get myself onto my mat and then say to myself, “let’s just do the sun salutations and see how I feel”.
When I am done that part I usually feel like I can continue on to do the standing sequence. Oh and then look at that, I’m ready to get onto the seated portion. By the time I get to the end of my practice, I am usually feeling much better overall. The days I need to stop at half primary, I do it. If I am tired, I don’t push myself. As long as you can make it onto your mat and do some of your practice, you showed up and you did the work for that day. Remember, tomorrow is another day. You might feel like a ball of fire then!!
4. Put “Yoga-Time” On Your Calender
If you practice two to three times a week, it is a good idea to plan which days you will do it. In your day planner or on your calendar, write it in. This way if something else comes up that you need to do that week, you can slot it in at another time. Your “Yoga-Time” is already there so you can work around it. This creates value for the time you have set aside for your practice. When you start to plan around it, this serves as another way to compel you to follow through.
5. Make Yourself Accountable- Recruit Help
When first starting out with a home practice, sometimes a little bit of extra motivation can be found in having someone else know your goal. They can remind you that you wanted to do this and that creates an extra push for you to stick with your plan. After a while, you won’t need this one as much because the longer you keep your practice up, the more intensely you will feel the rewards of your choice and those will be enough to keep you on track.
Keeping these five tips in mind, you can see some of the characteristics of practicing at home that are unique and special. There are no distractions like other practitioners or the watchful eye of your teacher. That meditative place of concentration is more accessible and once found, on really good days, is downright magical. The breath leads you through your sequence like a cloud in the sky. Soft, yet moving with power and purpose. I have been able to connect to places within my body and inside me more deeply when I am alone. Awareness grows in the nuances of each pose and how the body responds each day. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience which you may also have the pleasure of if you wish. So take the plunge! Make your yoga practice something you can do at home, even a couple of times a week. I promise you will be happy you did. Namaste💕