Even if there’s noise, not much space, you’re beginning yoga or an experienced yogi in need of home practice tips, I’ve listed a few of my home practice hacks to help you.
Keep things simple and manageable, so you can get into the routine of doing yoga at home
Some questions to ask yourself are:
How many times per week can I do my home yoga practice?
How many minutes on average can I commit to?
Which time of day am I likely to have no interruptions and a quiet time?
Your answers will give you a picture of what a manageable yoga practice routine could be.
When you’re starting out on your own at home, include a few foundation-level postures
Virabhadrasana 1, 2 and 3 (warrior poses)
Trikonasana (extended triangle)
Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog)
High lunge / crescent lunge
Marichyasana 3 (sage pose / seated twist one leg extended)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge)
Salambha Bhujangasana (sphinx)
Ideally each physical practice starts with some kind of of sun salutation section, not static stretches. You can hold poses for longer once your body is warmed-up. Include poses to cool you down before Savasana (corpse).
Be consistent even if its 5 minutes every day
Like any ‘habit’ consistency is how you start and stick to a routine. A better strategy for success is to set a goal of 10 minutes of yoga every day, rather than one hour 3 times per week. Why? Leaving a gap between practices drains your momentum, and then motivation wanes. With a short daily practice you are teaching both your mind and body to expect yoga. And you’re teaching those around you that your practice is important to you and is a normal part of everyday life.
Do this pose in every single practice
Do you know which pose I’m about to say? Yes, Savasana. Savasana is when your body, mind and spirit integrates the practice you’ve just completed. Its the final pose of every sequence, no matter what ‘style’ of yoga or length of practice. Even a 5 minute practice must end in Savasana.
Savasana is the magical space where there’s nothing to do except lay there and breathe. It can be tricky as the mind wonders off the mat into your shopping list, relationship worries, job tasks and so on. The practice in Savasana is to return your attention gently to your breath. Once you notice your mind has wondered, learn to release those thoughts and return to your breath. Savasana levels you out, grounds you and prepares you to return to the world more balanced.
Create a special place for your practice
One of the challenges many people face to making their yoga dream a reality is finding a place to practice in their home. I’ve heard this a lot and totally get it because I’ve been through it myself.
I’ve moved home a lot which means I’ve practiced in spaces from tiny and cramped to spacious, silent and idyllic. Believe it or not, not long ago I only had space for my mat and that was it. I was surrounded by furniture and street noise. Having practiced in such a variety of home settings and noise levels, I know now that environment is super-important, but it doesn’t stop the practice. Usually what stops the practice is our mindset. (More on the subject of yoga practice and mindset in another post.)
Create an uncluttered yoga space at home, even if your home environment is small or shared. Tidy-up the night before, so your space is ready and prepped for the morning. If you share, let the people you share with know when you’re practicing and for how long. If you feel able to, let them know it’s important that you’re not disturbed by noise or interruptions.
Lay-out which clothes you’re going to practice in before you go to bed
If noise is an issue, create a yoga music playlist instead. Or you may be able to zone-in to your practice so much that you don’t notice your surroundings.
Motivate yourself with a theme or focus each month
Yoga philosophy wisely teaches us about the importance of non-attachment to goals (Vairagya in Sanskrit). Try not to set a goal. According to yoga philosophy, a goal can unwittingly encourage attachment which causes suffering. Instead create a simple theme, intention or focus for your practice each month. Something to inspire and motivate.
If you are an asana fan and want to master a particular pose, set an intention to work towards this pose rather than making it a goal to achieve. Notice if you become excited or agitated when practicing this pose. Cultivate a sense of being OK with wherever you’re at with the pose, breathe and be with where you are now, not where you want to be.