I was recently asked by someone in my yoga class if I practiced yoga every day.
My answer was yes, but then I began to feel rather conscious of how that might come across.
I felt the need to explain more about what my daily practice looks like. The last thing I wanted was to portray an image that seemed unachievable.
It was almost as though by saying I practiced every day, I was painting this picture of me getting up at 5am, quietly meditating then continuing with my physical practice for a solid 60 minutes each day. Finishing off with a 15 minute savasana and a green juice.
In reality my yoga practice is often short, I often do 10 minutes here and there throughout the day. Sometimes I get on my yoga mat and sometimes I find time to sit and focus on breathing with my eyes closed. My yoga fits around my life, my job and mostly around the life of my 2 year old son. And this is the important aspect that I’d like to portray. Yoga can be part of your daily life without it feeling too difficult to find the time. I think the difficult bit is knowing where to start.
So here are my top tips for getting started with a home yoga practice.
Grab yourself a bit of paper and a pen because first we need to plan this out…
1. Where will you practice?
Thinking about your home, where could you make space for a yoga mat or a cushion to sit on for a seated meditation. Try and write down a couple of options because what happens if your family happen to be taking up space in your chosen area when you decide you want/need to do some yoga. In my house I practice at the side of my bed, at the back of the living room and in the kitchen. I’ve also done some gentle stretching sitting on the bathroom floor during my son’s bath time – so be creative in your choices. Now you’ve found space, when could you make space during your day to practice your yoga. Remember it doesn’t have to be a certain time each day or any specific length. Perhaps there is 10 mins in the morning you could allocate just to you, before everyone else gets out of bed. What about some breathing and meditation in the car whilst waiting at the school gates. Or could you go to bed a little early and roll out your mat beside your bed – that’s my favourite place at the moment. You can also move, stretch and practice your favourite poses while waiting for the dinner to cook. You don’t always need total silence or a sacred place. Sometimes it’s good just to stretch out and move around while doing something else.
2. What does your body need?
Now put the paper away as you’re ready to step onto the mat. Now that I’ve been practising a while I instinctively know what I’m going to do on the mat. So let me help you get started. I don’t necessarily plan it out before hand but I just begin to move in a way that feels right and good for my body. Sometimes I might try out a sequence I’ve seen on social media or just work into an area of my body that feels tight or sore. Next time you are in class, try to remember a few poses that felt good on your body. Spend the week in-between your class, practising just those couple of poses. You can do them in any order and they don’t have to flow. These beginning steps are just about making space and time.
3. Create a beginning, middle and an end to your practice.
By segmenting your practice into 3 sections you will help yourself to a) stay on the mat long enough to feel better and b) provide yourself with a useful structure which you can build upon. So here is your basic yoga menu:
– To start…sit, stand or lie down and begin to notice your own breathing. Close the eyes and settle your mind and body. Add in some gentle stretches, like hamstrings or neck rolls. Try to concentrate on where in your body needs a little TLC.
– For the main course – here’s where you can practice those poses you liked in class. Try counting your breaths in your poses to focus your mind on something. Maybe repeat each pose 2-3 times and take time in between to notice how you feel.
-For afters – probably the most important and ‘tasty’ part of your yoga meal is the relaxation at the end. It’s easy to jump straight up and back into your life but this bit is really really important. This is your body’s time to reset. If you struggle to stay put for any length of time, use your phones timer and set it for 5 minutes.
So that’s it right there…your own guide to creating a home practice.
If you’d like to delve a little deeper into the art of creating a home practice sign up below and you’ll be the first to know about a new one off workshop I’ll be running in the Spring.
During the workshop we will talk about the key elements you can include in your practice and I’ll share with you my 5 stage secret recipe that I use when I plan my classes.
Sign up here