We all have good intentions of practicing yoga at home, but when we go to do it, it’s not as glamorous as we imagined and we give up.
Here’s my first tip, your home practice will never be like a yoga class so don’t put so much pressure on yourself to make it perfect. My home practice consists of a few spinal twists in bed when I wake up, followed by a standing forward bend. Throughout the day I might think of a few cool sequences and practice them, then usually at night time I do a handful of yin poses. I do my yoga in the kitchen, the lounge room, the spare room and in bed. I don’t have one set space to do it and it is rarely on a yoga mat.
So how do you get started?
Do your favourite yoga pose, whatever it may be. Just spend a few minutes each day doing your favourite pose. When you’re in that pose, listen to your body and ask what it feels like. Do you need a stretch, a twist, to lengthen? Go from your favourite pose to what you feel like next. Over the course of a couple of days you will build up your own little sequence of 3-4 poses. The thing to remember is that you’re not trying to replicate a class, so you don’t have to practice for a full hour and you don’t have to incorporate a pose from each category – just do what you feel like.
You may like to practice a sequence that you’ve done in class or you may like to do a series of sun salutations. Start to become intuitive and do the poses that your body needs on the day – maybe just focus on a few shoulder or neck stretches or maybe some hip opening poses.
If you’re looking for some inspiration there are thousands of free online sequences that you can check out on Youtube. People I can recommend are Jason Crandell, Kino McGregor, Kathryn Budig, Shiva Rea and My Health Yoga.
Once you’ve gotten over your expectations of having a perfect home practice, you can start to have a little fun and practice some of the tricky arm balances using the support of the wall.
Another tip I have is to regularly practice the poses you dislike. It’s often said in yoga that the pose you like the least is the one you need the most. For me, I always hated the seated wide leg forward fold. I struggled with it, my knees hurt, my hamstrings hurt and I could never get comfortable with it. This was the one pose I would practice regularly, even while watching TV. Now it’s one of my favourite poses as I can see how far I’ve come from practicing it regularly for some eight years. I now enjoy the pleasurable discomfort I feel and on some days I can get my chest to the floor which is a huge achievement from not being able to touch my toes in this pose.
The best thing about your home yoga practice is you don’t have to worry what you look like, you can choose your own music and you can fall asleep and snore and no-one will care. If you have pets or kids though, be prepared for them to join in.
If you’re still stuck or you can’t think of anything, here’s a simple little sequence for you
What does your home practice look like? Feel free to leave a comment below.