Starting a home yoga practice doesn’t have to be difficult. If you follow the 3 key things listed below, you’ll be able to start a home practice and actually keep it up.
It’s so important to note that no matter what you read on the internet or in books, there is no standard way to have a home practice. You don’t have to do any certain poses or practice for any special length of time. You don’t even really need a yoga mat. Your home practice is yours and can be whatever you want it to be.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 3 things for starting a home yoga practice.
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1. Setting up
I have a shocking concept for you: you don’t actually need a yoga mat or any fancy props to practice yoga. Just find a space in your home where you will have enough room to lay down, stretch out, and move.
A yoga mat, however, is useful for setting a dedicated space for your practice. Props are useful to help you in certain postures, but you can always find substitutes around your house like books, belts, blankets, towels, or scarves.
It may seem like a really simple thing, but keep all of the things (mat, props, etc) you use for your yoga practice in one place. Keeping everything together saves you time and energy from having to think: “oh, I have to go get this from over there” or “ah–shit, I forgot this thing in that room.” Keep it all together.
If it’s possible for you to leave your mat rolled out all of the time–do that! It makes it that much easier to plop yourself down on it. If you’re like me, however, and live in a flat with limited space (or live with people who don’t like you leaving your stuff out), just keep everything in a spot where it’s easy to roll your mat out. The more work you have to do (even if it’s just a small thing like going to a cupboard to pull your mat out) will make it that much harder for you to practice. Keep it as simple and easy as possible on yourself to set up and get on the mat.
Even if you don’t have a mat, still create a dedicated space to practice. That could mean keeping that space on the floor always cleared of clutter or keeping your “props” (books, blankets, etc) nearby.
There is absolutely no need to practice yoga for 60-90minutes at home. When we get into the mindset of that being the standard length of time to practice yoga, it becomes an obligation. Yoga should not be an obligation. Hopefully, it is something you do because it makes you feel good. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your home practice should look anything like the group classes you attend at that studio nearby.
How long you practice is entirely up to you. Mark Whitwell, author of Yoga of Heart, has this great practice called “The Seven Minute Wonder.” Seven minutes every day of moving and breathing with the whole body, he says, can make you feel really, really good. Seven minutes!
Andy Puddicombe, the founder of the meditation app Headspace, says all it takes is 10 minutes of meditation every day for it to have a dramatic impact on your life. The same is true for yoga, which encompasses mindfulness and meditation.
So, allow yourself to get rid of this idea that you have to practice yoga for 60 minutes in order for it to be “yoga.” A short yoga practice is infinitely better than no practice at all.
3. The Physical Practice
The hardest part about starting a yoga practice is thinking we have to do x,y, or z. Oh, you didn’t do a sun salute? That’s not a yoga practice. Oh, you didn’t do this balancing sequence or this inversion or this or that or BLAH BLAH BLAH. Stop this internal dialogue saying that what you are doing isn’t a “real” yoga practice.
Just get on the mat (or your floor).
Start with something you LIKE. Something that you WANT to do.
I personally have a lot of low back pain and joint issues. The thing I enjoy the most is just laying down on the mat with my knees hugging into my chest and rolling around a bit to give my low back a gentle massage. Alternatively, I like to grab a bolster (you can also wrap towels and blankets to create your own or use pillows–I do!) and lay down in some comfortable restorative postures.
By starting this way, you’re introducing a bit of movement and focus on the breath. From there you can gradually move into other poses and work different parts of the body.
Bonus tip: Meet your energy level where it’s at
A great tip for choosing what poses to start your home practice with is to meet your energy level where it’s at on any given day.
Let’s say you just worked a double shift at a service job and come home knackered. Pull out your mat, lay down on the floor and do some gentle supine postures. If you start to feel more energized, you can work your way up towards kneeling postures and possibly standing.
Let’s say you are home and absolutely bursting with energy! Start standing and move through some sun salutations or stronger postures. You can then move your way through some kneeling, seated, or supine postures if you feel like it.
Point is: start with something you like that meets your energy level where it’s at.
Hopefully this is helpful for you in starting your home yoga practice. I’ve also created a short sequence you can follow along with. This one is designed so that you start laying down on your back. It’s a great one to practice when you’re feeling fatigued and lacking energy to do much. Just sign up with your email below for it to be sent into your inbox.
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