Starting or strengthening a home practice can be a great way to maintain and even deepen your yoga practice. It’s also a great option if you struggle to fit classes in to your schedule, or want to practice more often than is financially realistic. One great thing about a home-based practice is that it can be whatever you need it to be. It can start and end at any time, target your mood and physical needs, and utilize any genre or volume of music that moves you in the moment.
Beginning is as simple as identifying a place to practice. This can be a special spot dedicated to your practice, or any place where you can lay down your mat and have enough room to move safely. The ideal space will be different for each person and is often influenced by your dwelling and other lifestyle factors. Wherever you practice, make the space feel sacred, inviting, and peaceful in a way that means something to you. Donna Nebenzahl suggests, “the key is to create an atmosphere that is so calming that even the family dog, with a deep sigh, is able to relax.” This calming influence can help bring your attention to your practice by allowing your focus to shift away from normal household distractions.
Some days you may come to your mat knowing exactly what you want to work on, and move right into your practice, other days you may feel less inspired. There are lots of resources out there for these days. You can visit our practice section to find yoga pose sequences for all levels of ability and special sequences to match your mood. You may also find it useful to have a couple yoga DVDs or yoga books handy.
Set the tone to match your practice. You may choose to light candles or incense, use pictures or statues of esteemed teachers or deities, or play certain music. It can be soothing to approach the ritual of preparation with a sense of reverence; your practice has already begun!
Lastly, commit to a practice schedule. Be honest and realistic with yourself so you are more likely to stick to it. If you are still taking classes, it may be useful to try to practice at the same time on your off days.
There are ten thousand things to pull you away from your practice, and even more when your practice time is dictated by someone else’s schedule. Keep going to your favorite classes, but when you can’t make them, don’t let that stop your practice! Pull out your mat at home, decide what you need, set the tone, and let your own inner wisdom guide you.
What best supports your home yoga practice? Please share what works best for you!