I’m often asked how to go about starting a Yoga practice at home. Many of us seem to resist it. We tell ourselves that we don’t have enough space or time, or that we don’t know what to do.
Much of it comes down to being consistent, and setting up a convenient place in your home. Whether you have a quick 15 minutes or 2 hours, you can use the time you’ve got.
Start by focusing on your breath. Often three to five sun salutations followed by relaxation in Savasana (corpse pose) can be enough to kickstart your practice.
Once on your mat, you may find you want to continue and your practice expands to include a balancing pose such as Natarajasana (the dancer), an inversion such as a Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) or Viparitu Karani (legs up the wall) pose, and a twist such as Jathara Parivritti before relaxation in Savasana, as illustrated below. You can lengthen the practice by adding in poses such as a seated forward bend like Paschimottanasana after the dancer pose, and Matsyendrasana (fish pose) after the shoulder stand. Here’s a little illustration, to follow:
Without your teacher’s voice guiding your every move, you’re able to go inside more easily and observe what’s happening in your body, emotions and mind. You become aware of your current mood and thoughts. You begin to notice how much your yoga experience evolves from day to day. Everything constantly changes. As a result, you may find yourself reacting less to life’s daily challenges.
Practise a few poses for 15 or 20 minutes as often as possible. Most teachers agree that a short practice every day is more valuable than an hour and a half once a week. Doing a little bit every day is ideal for managing daily stress, bringing yourself into your body, and settling your mind; its benefits are greatest when you take advantage of them regularly. A small amount of yoga done consistently gives you good feedback about what’s happening in your body and mind. And it will improve your practice, as the body and mind learn from repetition.
Instead of abandoning your yoga when life gets busy, use your practice to keep you going, and energise you. Learning to integrate your practice into daily life is key to building a practice that nurtures and supports you. If you have half an hour before the kids are home from school, or only have the time or energy for a 10-minute restorative pose while dinner cooks, then great!
Private sessions are also a great way to get motivated and kickstart a home practice. Ask your regular yoga teacher for a 1-1 session. For those based in Edinburgh, Fife and surrounding areas, you can find more information here.
Most importantly, enjoy! Don’t make yoga another stress, another thing you have to do. As you develop inner awareness through a regular practice, you’ll feel more confident in tailoring your practice to meet your needs.
As you’ll need some experience of practising yoga to follow this home practice, in my next post I’ll provide additional support for your home yoga practice.
Roll out your mat and see what comes!
Let me know how you get on in the comments section below.
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