Most of us lead busy and at times stressful lives and know that a regular yoga practice would do us wonders, ultimately making everything else easier. So then why do we find it so difficult?
Here are some tips for starting and maintaining a regular home practice:
1. Allowing yourself the time.
A big part of why it can be difficult to practice at home is because we feel like there’s other, more important things to be doing- cleaning, emails, dinner etc. Devoting time out for just yourself can feel somewhat self-self-indulgent and can create feelings of guilt before you’ve even started.
The thing is that your yoga practice not only benefits you but everyone else in your life. If you are calm, happy, grounded and full of life you will carry that energy around with you. Helping you make better decisions, better working environments, relationships and just generally spread good vibes. After your practice you won’t feel guilt. Just peace and a sense of clarity.
It helps to be organised, although sometimes that won’t feel possible so just do your practice and worry about the little things later. Just 5-10 minutes a day won’t cut into your schedule much.
2. Creating a space
In an ideal world wouldn’t it be great to have your own little yoga room in your house? 😊 But for most of us that isn’t possible. However creating a little corner, maybe a little table with a candle, a picture of a diety or family member, maybe some insence or essential oils would create something that looks and feels inviting. If you have space leave your mat out or roll it up near the table. So when you walk past you think ‘ooo that looks nice’ and it makes you feel like getting on the mat. Having a devoted space can be very healing. Even just stepping into that space will make you feel calmer and more present.
Make it warm and comfortable. If you have a fire place or log burner this instantly creates a relaxed atmosphere. Candles and those little battery candles are great too.
3. Don’t set the goal too high.
Start small. If you say to yourself you’re going to do an hour and a half practice every day and be able to do headstand in 3 months or whatever and then at day 2 you realise you need to do the food shopping or your friends coming to stay and you end up not practicing at all. It’s then easy for you to not practice the following day, you then don’t have an hour the day after that so just end up throwing the whole idea out of the window because it feels too much and un- attainable. It’s much more achievable to commit to a 5-10 minute practice once or twice a week to start. If you manage to do more then that’s a bonus. If you want to make something part of your daily routine it needs to feel easy and might take some time to build up to.
This also helps with the first point allowing time, you’ll feel less guilty and have less distractions if you know you’re only doing 5-10 minutes.
4. Don’t know what to do once you’re on the mat?
It can be difficult without a teacher to a). watch over you for alignment. b). to tell you what to do next and c). To help you practice at a level that’s correct for you. Try Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga or have the odd 1-2-1 with your teacher.
Led yoga classes are great but can often be a little overwhelming for beginners and hard to know if you’re ‘doing it right.’ They also change the sequence so it’s difficult for you to work out what to do at home and you might often end up just doing the postures that you ‘like’ and not the ones you ‘don’t like’ which are actually the ones that will help you the most.
Watching yoga dvds is okay but what I’ve found is you spend too much focus on looking at a screen and not looking within! It’s also difficult to know if you’re ‘doing it ‘correctly’.
So Mysore style is basically a 1-2-1 without the price tag. Learn the beginning and the end of the sequence in your first class, then gradually add more as and when your mind and body is ready. So the practice is given to you individually by your teacher and you move on at your teachers discretion. This makes it perfect for building a home practice because at first it will only take you no more that 10-15 minutes to do. As you progress your practice will become longer as you learn new postures but you can always come back to the basic beginning and the end if you are stuck for time. This method will also show you what you need to work on physically and mentally and your teacher will be there to guide you every step of the way ultimately helping you create a practice for life.
If there’s no mysore classes available in your area then I suggest booking the odd 1-2-1 with your teacher. Discuss with them what your goals are and get them to put together a sequence you can do at home. Then the odd further sessions they can help you with alignment, habits and move you on when you’re ready.
5. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning.
Yes, yoga is usually best practiced first thing but that’s not always possible if you leave for work at 6am or have toddlers and children running around needing feeding or getting ready for school! So if this means you are practicing at lunch time or before bed then so what? You’re still getting that precious you time. Still having that little check in with yourself to find even one moment of peace and clarity. It’s worth it.
Ultimately yoga is there to be a tool for your life. If you are getting even more stressed because you haven’t done your practice then that really defeats the point! There is no rush, be patient. Stay connected to yourself, be honest and kind. Stay connected to your teacher and never be afraid to ask them for advice about your practice.
Practice and make the world a better place 😊
To Follow Jo’s journey or ask for advice you can find her on instagram and facebook: @jojoyoga