You may have noticed by now that practicing yoga at home is a little different than the studio and you may be wondering how much f****n longer. You may be fed up, over it, and ready to get back your regular routine. Working and working out at home with your annoying husband and needy children just might not be for you. Maybe, just maybe your fine with those. You love having your family around and are grateful for all the extra time you can spend with them. Maybe you’re just missing your community and the connection you get from your yoga studio. The energy and motivation it gives you to do that extra class, to go a littler deeper, to create more awareness. Maybe you're just missing that little extra support that comes in a studio environment. Regardless of your situation there are lots of new challenges we are all facing and what we have in common is the absence of our second home, our community, or place of refuge. All the while, practicing at home brings with it a lot of distractions - family, kids, roommates, Netflix, social media, wine o'clock - and skipping your yoga practice has never been easier.
I'm here to offer some guidance to you so you can recreate that yoga studio feel at home. Regardless of how big or small your space is I will give you some tips that will make you want to get on your mat. Having an inviting space that you can’t wait to get too is important in having the discipline and the motivation to practice. Without further adieu here are my favourite tips for practicing at home!
Tip # 1 - Cleanliness
Yoga at home likely will force you to keep things a little extra tidy. And it's SPRING! Perfect time for a little refresh, right? The Niyamas - yoga's second limb - consists of 5 Pillars and one of them is Saucha or Cleanliness/Purity. Saucha in our home environment teaches us that our physical space is a reflection of our state of mind. A messy and cluttered physical place leads to a messy and cluttered mental space. Turn this act into a meditation. Be patient, take your time, breathe and enjoy the process leading up to your Asana practice. After all the physical practice of yoga is the third limb and comes AFTER the Yamas and the Niyamas...probably for a very good reason. Don't ya think? So take some time to tidy up your yoga area and spring clean your home. Do it with mindfulness and focused attention to create the perfect yoga space for you.
Tip # 2 - Scents
Our sense of smell can go a long way in helping us feel grounded and relaxed. Most yoga studios have that perfect smell when you walk in and it washes over you like a big ocean wave of relaxation and calm. Ahhhhh. Meanwhile at home you can smell your breakfast, the green bin, last nights pizza, and your cat's litter box....at least I can at my home haha. Add in a few poopy diapers and you're not very chill, right?
A candle, some incense or palos santos can really bring an inviting, grounding and calming scent into your home. I love walking around room to room with some palos santos to spread the good vibes all over my home. I also make sure I have an essential oil diffuser near my yoga space and always get that going before practice. I typically us peppermint and lemon oil blends for energy in the mornings and lavender to help ease me into a softer, evening practice. Find what works for you and use the power of smell to create the perfect yoga space for you.
Tip # 3 - The Gift of Time
This one's a biggie. And so, so, so important. Remember, something is ALWAYS better than nothing. The pressure to get on your mat for 60 minutes and get everyone else in your house to be quiet for that length of time is a tall task. At home we are often chasing the same feeling of our yoga practice that we get at the studio and thus it never lives up to the hype. It's just not the same. And I've been there. Is truggled with this for manny years at the beginning of my yoga journey and even after I completed my teacher training. I knew I would have to get to place where my home practice became my primary practice. It's just not possible to teach 10+ classes a week and find time to for a studio practice every day.
So how did it come together? Well, step one was to accept that an at home practice was going to be different. Step two was to let it go and not give a flying you know what.
I realized practicing at home didn't have to be time consuming and it certainly didn't have to be the same length of time as a studio class. A different environment calls for a different approach. At home I can do exactly what I want and need at any time. To build a strong at home yoga practice I needed to find little pockets of time whether it was 5 minutes or 30 minutes. If I waited for the perfect 1 hour time slot every time I just simply wouldn't be able to practice very much. I had to fit it practice into the nooks and crannies of my life.
Wake up and Breathe - 5 minutes
Legs Up the Wall - 10 minutes
Sun Salutations - 10-15 minutes
Watching TV - plank, boat pose, chair pose - 10 minutes
Before Bed - Butterfly, Bridge, Twist - 10-15 minutes
See what I mean? It all adds up to an hour or so of practice but it's all about letting go of perceived constraints of what a yoga practice has to look like. Do your best and find the time to practice on and off your yoga mat.
Tip #4 - Tapas
Not the eating kind ;)
In yoga Tapas is another one of our Niyamas and it means discipline. This can be very challenging at home because of all the distractions around. You may find yourself stuck to the couch plowing through a Netflix show for hours and then wine o’clock shows up and next thing you know the chance for yoga disappears. Having the discipline to get yourself on your mat is challenging when no one is at home to hold you accountable but yourself. No one is there to say they haven’t seen you at the studio in a while. No membership fee is forcing you to go to class because you don’t want to waste your money.
Can you find the discipline to be kind and good to yourself even when no one is watching? Can you find the discipline to practice yoga every day just for you? For no other reason but to take care of your health? This is much easier said then done.
Finding Tapas in your practice is finding the wisdom to get on your mat even when you don’t want too or feel like it. Making the decision to go to bed a little earlier so you can wake up early to practice is Tapas. Not drinking too much or eating unhealthy foods because you want to feel good in your practice is Tapas.
Tip #5 - Always Do Your Best
"Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret." ~ The Four Agreements
All in all - the only thing you can do is give it your best shot. Give your best effort and there are no regrets. Let go expectations or negative thoughts - Ditch any sentence that begins with I can’t, I don’t know and I’m not ready. You can, you know and you are definitely ready.