Sometimes I can’t always make it to my favourite yoga class, or there are no classes scheduled when I’m able to get to the gym. There are things I’ve learned about starting and committing to a home yoga practice. When I first started practicing yoga at home, about five years ago, I would look to YouTube for yoga videos that I could follow, and ones that were at least an hour long. My thought was that if I wasn’t getting my ass out the door I’d at least need to put in a solid effort. The problem? No matter which video I did, within 30 minutes I lost focus.
There are things that I’ve learn along the way about practicing yoga at home. Forget those hour-long videos (or really any video to be exact). Stick to these suggestions and you’ll be practicing yoga at home in no time:
Limit your flow to 20 minutes to 30 minutes. You don’t need to go full out just because you’re at home. The fact that you’re doing it in the first place is already amazing. As I mentioned above, I’d always lose focus after 30 minutes no matter what. I could be in a room by myself with just the video playing and in the middle of it I’d just stop. When I started limiting my time to 20-ish minutes, I felt more connected.
Stop trying to create a sequence. When I first started practicing yoga I had no idea what I was doing. The only sequence I knew was what I did in class; what my instructor had put together. When I tried to put a full 60 minute flow together at home I’d spend most of the time thinking of what to do next. I’d get through one position and stop and think, “OK, now what?” Start by doing a few sun salutations to get warmed up, and then work on one or two poses (depending on their difficulty). I’m not a yoga instructor (but it’s definitely a goal of mine!), so trying to come up with something on the spot was difficult. I do have my favourite poses, though (wild thing, you really do make my heart sing), and you can bet they make it into my home practice.
Think about the challenges you have in class and work on those. When I first started practicing yoga one of the biggest challenges I had was remembering to breathe! Most of us tend to hold our breath when we’re struggling, and in a yoga class some of those poses can be tricky and the flows can be fast. When I was in class I wanted to make sure I was keeping up with everyone, and as a result my breathing went out the window. At home I was able to slow things down and understand how the inhales and exhales should flow. The other thing I’d focus on was transitioning from one pose to the other to create that fluid movement.
I hope these simple suggestions help you to, not only create, but sustain a home yoga practice. I stepped into my first yoga studio five years ago and it’s been an amazing journey since then. I’ve gained so much more confidence in myself, and I’m always amazed at how strong my body (and mind) actually is.