Three Tips for Practicing Yoga at Home
Earlier in the summer we posted an article about how to begin thinking-about and cultivating a home practice. Months later, with so many yoga studios still closed and the winter ramping up, practicing yoga at home is just as needed. However, sometimes it’s easier said than done!
When practicing at home, it can be harder to clear your mind and get into the rhythm of the practice. There are a number of things that can get in the way when practicing at home: distractions such as technology, kids, pets, partners or roommates; trying to multitask (I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s attempted to make dinner and do yoga at the same time!); losing motivation and only finishing part of the class; or perhaps getting disheartened about a lack of direction or clarity about which poses are right for you.
All of these elements are common saboteurs to our home yoga practice and they’re valid! However, if you are able to break through those barriers, home practice also has enormous benefits. It can allow for ease and consistency in your yoga schedule, it can unlock new creativity, and it really builds your ability to stay centered and present on your mat. If you’ve been toying with the idea of cultivating a home practice, here are a few tips to help get you started.
#1. First things first, create your space.
One of my favorite things about going to the yoga studio is the ambience that I feel when I’m there. The calming music, the light scent of incense on the air, the dim lighting. Though not essential to the experience, it certainly adds to the peace we often feel during yoga. While practicing at home, don’t overlook creating that ambience! Take a few moments to figure out the right practice space for you in your home. Make sure there’s plenty of space for your mat, maybe you bring out a few candles, grab your speaker and start playing some ambient sounds (especially if there’s background noise), and adjust the lights. Make your home yoga space a sacred space.
#2. Commit to your mat and minimize distractions.
As mentioned above, perhaps the most difficult part of the home yoga practice is the fact that when you’re in your own space, you’re surrounded by countless things that threaten to pull your attention away. Because of this it’s a great idea to firstly acknowledge that those distractions exist, but then also do what you can to minimize them. Some easy tips are to practice in a private space and ask those in your home not to disturb you during your yoga time, put your phone away or ensure it’s on “do not disturb” mode, and attempt to practice facing an area in your home that won’t be distracting, such as a window or maybe a beautifully decorated wall. Most of us only have an hour maximum dedicated to our yoga practice in a day. If that’s the case for you, do what you can to make sure you stay present on your mat for the full amount of time, even if you end up just laying in savasana for most of it! Notice the urges to get off your mat and attend to something else and see if you can stay present anyways.
#3. Set an intention and learn a few sequences.
A great tool for a home practitioner is an understanding of what you’re hoping to get out of the practice. Are you trying to build strength and sweat? Or are you trying to rest and restore? Maybe a bit of both? This intentionality in your home practice will help you piece together the movements that are right for you. From there, seek out resources online and learn a couple easy sequences that you can start to follow on your own. (Our mini-flows are a great place to start, you can also check out our sequencing guide to go deeper!) It’s helpful to know a few ways to open up your practice, what you’d like to do in the middle, and your favorite way to close. Perhaps start with a few simple moves and then add in others over time.
Bonus tip: When in doubt, follow a guide!
A home practice doesn’t need to mean you have to figure it out all on your own! There are so many online classes and guides out there who you can learn from in the cozy space of your own home. Even if it’s just to start out, you might consider following live-stream or recorded yoga classes. Do you have friends who love yoga? Maybe you jump on Zoom with a friend and practice “side-by-side” – sometimes having a partner is the best way to commit to your mat.
In the spirit of staying home and staying safe, we hope these tips help you truly embrace the joy of a yoga practice at home. What else are you wondering about? Let us know in the comments below!