Sunday, 6 October 2013

How to practice yoga at home

I remember the first time I tried to do yoga at home by myself in my basement.

It was awful.

I hated it and shut of the DVD I was following within 10 minutes.

Then I tried it again, probably about a month or two later. I opted for a different video this time, but still hated it.

I was feeling defeated.

Being in yoga teacher training, I need to practice every day - but there are days that I just can't make to the studio.

One of the five Niyamas of yoga is Tapas – which means being enthusiastic, committed to practicing, and being attentive to our body, breath, heart and mind.

When I first read this, I knew that if I wanted to stay home and not go to a studio, then I would have to find a way to practice yoga at home.

After more trial and error runs, I finally found a way to do it that works. Here’s how:

Find the proper guidance

If you can free-flow and do yoga on your own, then all the power to you. I’m not quite there yet. I enjoy being led by an instructor.

A friend of mine recommended Eckart Yoga. It offers many different online yoga courses. It’s professional, easy to follow, and motivational. I signed up for a month for only $12. If you do even just one class, then the subscription has paid for itself. It’s even cheaper if you sign up for a year, which I will definitely be doing after this first month is over.

There are many other organizations that offer online yoga too. I haven’t tried any others yet, but many will turn up in a quick Google search.

Set up space

I was trying to practice in my basement, like I used to do when I followed Jillian Michaels videos. But my basement is cold and empty and it was hard for me to flow nicely is such a grey space.

When I moved my mat and laptop upstairs to my living room, it was easier for me to want to do yoga at home.

I suggest finding a space that is relaxing and comforting, and that you enjoy being in. It can be a spare room, computer room, living room – anywhere that’s easy for you to roll out your mat and stretch your arms out to the sides. That’s all you need.

Treat your space with the same respect that you would a yoga studio

When you’re doing yoga at home, turn your phone off, along with all other electronics. Find some peace and quiet. Shut the door. Do your best to get the privacy you need.

Wear clothes that you are comfortable in, but don’t totally grub out just because you’re at home. You still need to be able to move freely and comfortably, without being self-conscious. If you get into more serious yoga clothes that you may typically wear to a studio, it might help you take yourself more seriously when practicing at home.

Treat your home practice like you would your practice in a studio.

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Of course, you always want to be safe and gentle when practicing yoga. Especially if you are at home trying new yoga poses.

That being said, I really enjoy trying new things and experimenting with challenging poses at home. Sometimes, I get a little nervous or intimidated when I’m at a studio with other yogis. Practicing at home is a perfect opportunity to work on a new pose or take one to a different level.

This is a perfect opportunity to make mistakes and to try, try, again.

But always remember – be safe!

Be realistic

It’s great to be able to do 90 minutes of yoga a day, but if I’m being honest, I don’t always have that kind of time.

Just do your best. You can do 20 minutes of yoga and still benefit mentally and physically from your practice.

Remember that yoga is about honouring yourself – mentally, physically and spiritually.

This is your time.

You deserve it, and only you can make it happen.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!