So you’ve been going to yoga classes for a while now, and your practice has become embedded into your routine. You know you feel better when you do it and its not such an effort to get yourself to class as it was when you first started! You may be ready to start your own home yoga practice…
Home Yoga Practice
Developing a home practice is the natural progression for anyone that has been captivated by yoga… and its where the magic can start to happen on a deeper level. In a class there are so many more distractions- other people, what they are doing, how good they look/flexible they are/’better at yoga’ they are (or sometimes how much more flexible etc. you are!) big mirrors and the teachers voice and adjustments. And although you are encouraged to have an inward practice, this becomes almost impossible when you are in a class with other people and following a sequence. Don’t get me wrong, yoga classes are an excellent environment to learn how to safely perform the poses, develop techniques to help yourself relax and to meet other yogis, but to really get the full spectrum of benefits from yoga, I believe a personal home yoga practice is key.
By following a class, you only get moments of this inward focus and attention. You are listening to the teacher, awaiting instruction and although you are concentrating, its in a way that is different than when you are completely alone and ‘leading’ your body through a sequence. In a class, you are more likely to continue on even when you feel you really need to rest in child’s pose- because you want to do the same as every one else. At home, you are more likely to honour your body, and really tune in to how it wants to move (or how it doesn’t!)
What you need to start a home yoga practice
A quiet space, where you won’t be disturbed at all. Tell your family/housemates that you are practicing yoga and need some quiet time. Make your space a bit special. Tidy up a bit, open a window, light a candle (not completely necessary, but helps me to focus on my practice without thinking ‘i need to make the bed’ etc. etc.)
A yoga mat. Again, not completely necessary, but it does help. You can always use a towel or a blanket. I practiced for a while on my carpet.. But it is nice to use a mat, for extra grip for the hands and feet and padding for extra comfort in postures.
Turn your phone off. Turn your computer off. This is your time.
But what sequence do I follow? I have no idea where to start…
The main problem that a lot of people face is that they don’t know what poses to do at home. Maybe you can’t remember a sequence and how to do all of the poses. My advice is start small. Learn one thing and practice it for one week, as regularly as you can. For example, learn Sun salutation A. Practice 5 rounds every day when you get out of bed. And if you can’t remember sun salutations without a teachers guidance, have a look on the internet or watch some you tube videos. Make it your aim to learn that routine by heart, and practice it with enthusiasm and discipline. Once you have mastered that, add to it. Try a few rounds of sun salutation B. Add a few standing poses. Add a few seated. Then a few lying on your belly. And a few lying supine. And voila! You have your own yoga sequence, that you have designed for yourself! Ultimate freedom on the mat. And real time to check in with yourself, move the way you want to move and lye in Savasana for as long as you want!