Today I’m sharing some tips on how to build a home yoga practice. I’m all about learning yoga with a qualified teacher – there’s so much to know about doing the poses properly that I think can be tough to learn on your own from a book or watching videos online. If you already have a solid practice down, it can be fun to take it into your home. As much as I could love to go to my favorite studio on a daily basis, it’s just not in my budget at the moment. Hence the home yoga practice.
Before I get into the nitty gritty details, I thought I’d share some benefits of having a home yoga practice, just in case you weren’t already convinced.
- increased flexibility – though you don’t have to be flexible to start doing yoga
- breathing deeply and evenly
- releases tension – both physically and mentally
- creating time and space for yourself
Below I’ll share 7 tips in getting started with your practice and keeping it consistent.
Really, all you need is your yoga mat, but props such as blocks, straps, a bolster, and blankets can come in pretty handy too, especially if you do a restorative or yin practice at home. My favorite mat is this one (affiliate link) from Manduka. My Manduka Pro has held up through my yoga teacher training course and I couldn’t be happier with it.
Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean that you can’t meditate. Try out Headspace (I’ve written a couple posts about using Headspace, here and here), or do a meditation or pranayama on your own at the beginning or end of your practice. Insight Timer and YouTube are other options for meditations if you prefer to have a led one. Personally, I need a meditation to follow or else I just end up getting distracted.
Commit to your practice
It’s so easy to push your home yoga practice later and later in the day util it’s late, you’re tired, and you don’t have the energy needed to get your yoga session in anymore. Put your home yoga practice on your calendar just like you would with any other appointment, and then do it when you have it scheduled. Need some tips for scheduling it into your day? Check out this post as well as this one.
Honor your body
Yoga is all about connecting with your body. This means that if you did a tough lower body workout yesterday and your legs are sore, you do a seated yoga practice today. Part of the ahimsa (non-violence) concept in yoga is not pushing yourself beyond what you can do in this moment. It changes daily for me – what I could do yesterday may not be something that I can do today because I’m feeling tight, and injury, or I’m just not feeling it.
Create a space
You just need space for your mat and foot or two on each side. It doesn’t have to be a lot of space. It can be anywhere you want – your bedroom, living room, or even your deck or backyard if you have an outdoor space in your home. The only other thing I think I would want is a quiet space that has a limited number of distractions (other people, a TV or music in the background, etc.).
Figure out what you’ll do
Do you want more of a relaxing restorative practice or more of a sweaty vinyasa flow one? Do you want to wing it and come up with your own sequence of poses or do you want to be guided by someone else? You can find classes on YouTube and a variety of online yoga class services. There are lots of options to choose from.
If you do decide to come up with your own sequence, make sure it’s a balanced practice that includes a warm up/cool down, forward folds, back bends, twists, etc.