Yoga is a personal, spiritual practice for people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and fitness levels.
While you can join together and share the experience with fellow practitioners at a local studio, sometimes just making it to a studio can be challenging, from the traffic to the parking and travel time in between.
This is why many yogis commit to an at-home yoga practice. Whether you are pressed for time or short on cash, doing yoga at home helps you deepen your personal relationship with your practice, and can be a rewarding alternative to yoga studios.
Here are 10 tips to help you have a successful at-home yoga practice:
1. Same Time, Same Place
Whenever you are trying to begin something new, whether it be an at-home yoga practice or a commitment to healthy eating, it is important to establish a routine. You should commit to your at-home yoga practice at the same time and in the same place each day, or the amount of days each week that you would like to practice.
This way, you know that at this set time each day, you will do yoga in your sacred space. You make the commitment to turn off the TV, cell phones and other distractions during this time to keep you present and in the moment.
Pro tip: Let your friends and family know about your designated yoga time and kindly request that you not be disturbed. Once you have the support of those around you, you are more likely to stick with your routine.
2. Schedule It
Just as you would any meeting, event or appointment, pencil in time with your yoga mat. If you write it down in your planner, the act of putting literal pen to paper can hold you more accountable and make you more likely to commit. More tech savvy? Add it to your daily calendar and set a reminder to go off every day at the same time.
Even if you commit to just 15 or 20 minutes, hold yourself to it and just do it! If you feel good in a given day, you can practice longer and give yourself kudos or treat yourself to an extra long savasana. Whatever you do, don't skip your yoga routine, and don't sell yourself short. Show up presently and wholeheartedly, and reap the fruits of your dedication!
3. Plan Your Practice
Just saying “I'm going to do yoga today” is not enough! You need to plan out what type of yoga you will practice, the duration, and if you will free-flow or follow an audio or video. Maybe you want to do the same sequence every day so you establish a consistent routine and have a great way to watch your body grow, change and strengthen. Or, maybe you subscribe to a video website or follow a favorite yogi on YouTube so you pick a duration and style and try something new each day.
Find the method that works best for your unique needs. Having a plan ahead of time will hold you more accountable, and will also get you excited for your practice each day. Remember – this should be enjoyable, and not something you view as a chore or obligation. Plan accordingly so you have fun with your at-home yoga practice!
4. Create Your Very Own Yoga Space
If you try to do yoga in a cluttered, chaotic room with a lot of distractions, it may be difficult to stay focused. Create a special space in your home for your yoga practice, and make it feel warm and welcoming. This is your personal yoga studio, so make it you!
Surround yourself with candles, incense, harmonious music, and colors that calm and soothe your mind. Adorn your space with beautiful artwork that makes you feel happy and inspired, as well as mirrors so you can watch your form and make sure you are experiencing the full expression of the pose.
You may want to read: 3 Things to Consider When Creating Your Own Sacred Space
5. Use Your Favorite Yoga Necessities
Your yoga practice can inspire and balance your mind and body, but using your favorite products – everything from essential oil sprays, your most beloved yoga outfit, a playlist of your favorite songs, a great mat – will make your practice that much more enjoyable. If you have a flimsy yoga mat that causes you to slip and lose your footing, you will be less likely to have a pleasurable experience.
Use a quality mat, wear your favorite outfit, and gather all your other favorite yoga necessities that enrich your practice so you will be inspired to keep coming back to your mat.
6. Use Props
There is no shame in the props game! Yoga props are out there for a reason: to assist you with your unique yoga practice. Practicing yoga at home is your time to experiment and get comfortable with a pose, so grab a set of blocks, a blanket, or a strap to make pose modifications and explore what feels right in your own body.
Every pose can be adjusted to meet your needs and what your body is capable of, and props are a great way to make a challenging pose accessible – it's how you evolve in your yoga practice. Safety is paramount in your practice and yoga props can help you maintain proper alignment in a safe and comfortable manner.
You may want to read: 5 Yoga Props to Enhance Your Practice
Documenting your yoga experience helps make it more real and palpable. You can keep a yoga journal that tracks your progress (time, duration, type, etc.) and your thoughts and feelings during each practice. Perhaps a pose evokes some pent-up emotions. Write it down. If you feel a release or want to share your journey, write a Facebook post or share it with like-minded people in the yoga community, such as in the Facebook group TheYogaRoom.
You can also take yoga selfies to share with your friends or online community, or just take them to document your journey. Photos are a great way to see the transformation that your body undergoes over time. Documenting your practice holds you accountable, acknowledges your hard work, and inspires others in their own practice. That's powerful stuff!
8. Find Resources
You might find it difficult to sequence a yoga practice in your head. Luckily, there are a ton of online resources that you can turn to for guidance. There are plenty of free online resources, such as podcasts and videos on YouTube, so take advantage of what the world wide web has to offer! If you would like to follow set yoga sequences taught by experienced teachers, there are a variety of subscription-based online yoga resources like Yoga Anytime that are available for a monthly fee.
With these services, you can follow your favorite yoga teachers or take your practice to new levels by testing out new teachers and styles. The world is your oyster, and your practice can be customized to meet your changing preferences and needs.
Once you have set your mind to a dedicated at-home yoga practice and all of the logistics are sorted out, get started and don't let anything stand in your way. Commit to your practice and don't quit. Yoga should not be a chore or something on your to-do list that you have to complete.
Your practice should be something that you look forward to and that you want to turn to each day. Be sure to set an intention for your practice and keep your head clear and focused. Take that newfound mindfulness and inner tranquility with you throughout the rest of your day.
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