Why would you practice at home when you can go to a studio? What are the benefits of practicing at home? Where do we start?
Practicing in a heated studio is always great… there’s nothing like being led through a sequence, feeling the group energy, and getting a total body workout. But what if you could reap these same benefits at home? What about the days you just don’t have two hours to do the whole process of going to a studio to practice? What if you could create a special space in your own home where you could gain these same benefits in just 20 minutes? Well, guess what? You can.
I’ve been practicing vinyasa yoga since 2009 and teaching since 2010. Here is what I’ve learned about home practice: it takes commitment and discipline, but the benefits are huge. Follow these simple steps to set yourself up for success and carve a path to creating a mini yoga sanctuary in the comfort of your own home.
- It can be short and sweet. Or it can be long and strong. For so long, I used to avoid home practice because in my mind I thought I “had” to do a full hour or 75 minutes. I’ve learned to let go of that. Sometimes my home practice is a simple 15 or 20 minutes. It might be a relaxed, yin style practice with no music, or it may be a jam packed 20 minute session of powerful sun salutations, arm balances and inversions with some kickass beats blasting. Regardless of what you do, the point is that you carve out the time and do it. Try to let go of expectations or judgments around what you do on your mat. Not only will you feel good physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually too.
- New creativity arises. Without the guidance of an instructor, your practice becomes a work of art as you connect with stillness and hold space for yourself. I promise you will be surprised and delighted at the movement your body makes all on its own. Just let your breath be the guide.
- Mindfulness practice. You may choose to just sit and breathe and do a few simple postures. Or you may kill it with a strong sequence. The cool thing is you get to check in with what your body needs that day. The idea is to simply set aside some time for yourself, to be with yourself, meet yourself right where you are, enjoy your breath and body, and get centered. Yoga is a moving meditation practice!
- Gain confidence and connect with your intuition. When you take the time on your own to sit and listen to your inner voice, a whole world of possibility opens up as you allow this voice to guide you.
What to do:
- Create a sacred practice space. It can be inside or outside, depending on the season. I love practicing outside in the summertime. On a hot day it can feel exactly like being in a heated studio. Wherever it is, make this place somewhere you want to go. Place things nearby on a mini altar like candles, mala beads, incense, oils, crystals, a vision board, photographs… whatever inspires you. Get a space heater to recreate the hot studio atmosphere and work up a good sweat!
- Get a good yoga mat and blocks and a strap. Manduka products are my favorite:
- Set a realistic goal for yourself. I like to do a combination of studio practice and home practice. I shoot for five practices/week. Usually two or three of them are at home and anywhere from 15-45 minutes long.
- Roll out your mat, put on some music (or not), and go! Give yourself the first couple minutes in a simple seated posture, child’s pose, or down dog to just practice breath awareness. Simply place attention on your breath and allow yourself to shift from the mindstuff to the simple experience of feeling your breath and body on your mat. This is what brings you to the present moment. The movement will come naturally and your body will do what it needs to do once you connect with breath and body sensation. If you don’t know what to do, throw on a YouTube video! There are also some great subscriptions you can get through Gaia and also oneOeight with tons of awesome teachers, different styles of yoga and free trials. Also check out the free podcast collection from The Yoga Project where I teach!
The more you practice, no matter what length of time you spend on your mat, the more connected you will be to your inner voice… the easier it will be to hear it on a regular basis. Yoga is simply a mindfulness practice. When you get into what you are doing – and take it back to the basics – concrete breath and body sensation – you allow yourself to slow down and awaken to your inner knowing. Then you really start to dance with life.
The more you do it, the easier it gets.
You will discover a new rhythm on your mat practicing at home vs. practicing in a studio. Keep at it long enough to really allow yourself to feel the benefits.
Please comment below with any questions, I am here to help you!
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