Doing yoga at home is a great way to continue or enhance your practice beyond studio classes. Pragmatically, a home yoga practice could help you save money, time and effort – especially if you want to practice more frequently than your funds allow, free yourself from a class schedule and have more space to yourself. Do not forget the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga – staying healthy, feeling serene and nourished all in the comfort of your own home! To begin establishing your own home-practice, here are some tips to consider:
Create a Comfortable Space
Dedicate a suitable spot in the house for practice – a space that is quiet, well-ventilated, large enough to roll out your mat and not be hampered by clutter or sharp corners. Ideally, a room or a private corner where you could be alone for some time. Make it a point to leave distractions such as your phone and computer outside this ‘sanctuary’. Details like art on the wall, a niche for candles and incense, or simply having your yoga props in place could further sanctify your space and get you into the zone for practice.
Choose a Convenient Time
Yoga in the morning is recommended as it starts your day off with an elevated level of energy. A tip is to go to bed 15-20 minutes earlier so your session does not reduce your sleep time. If morning will not suit, choose any other time slot which is most convenient – the key is fitting it to your schedule, a big reason why you are practicing at home! Yoga during lunch break or after work is still a great way to refresh your senses or de-stress from the day’s activities.
Start with Stillness
Include time for stillness – to just breathe and be mindful of yourself. Even a few minutes could calm your mind, center your awareness and get you ready for practice. Meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises) are great for it. Since classes often do not focus on these aspects of yoga, at home is a fantastic place to add stillness to your practice. Stillness also trains your powers of concentration, which is beneficial for a more focused asana (physical practice of yoga).
Set Your Purpose and Prepare
Setting a purpose and preparing beforehand could help you use your session more effectively. Decide ahead of time what you want to do – it could be a style of yoga, a body area of focus or a particular posture to improve on. If you are just starting out, an online video instruction is an easy, straightforward option. When you become more attuned to your body’s preferences, you could begin to design your own sequence (more in Yoga at Home: Creating your Home Sequence).
Be Gentle and Listen to Your Body
Always perform poses in a gentle manner and respect your body’s limits. Over-assertion and force is not the way to garner quick results and may cause harm to your body. Learning to differentiate between discomfort (dull aching) and pain (acute and hot sensation) can help you identify how far to go. Begin practice with an open-mind and warm up properly before trying more challenging poses. Explore your body with patience and acceptance.
Set up a phone reminder! It is vital to be consistent with your practice. Yoga teachers advise that a short (10-15 minute) practice daily produces results more effectively than a long session every now and then. Some ways to help you develop the habit is to make it part of your morning ritual, sticking to the same yoga sequence so you don’t have to think about what poses to perform and have a reference for improvement, or practice it with a friend or family member!