Hints for the home practicing yogi

So you’ve attended a fair amount of yoga classes and are wondering how to make a home-practice work for you?

Here’s a few hints that I hope will help you…..

1. Keep it simple and realistic

My current commitment is just 10 minutes each day. I do suggest each and every day; it might sound a bit scary but this is a commitment to yourself. Sometimes I just practice for 10 minutes, but usually longer….if time permits! I am a mother, so sometimes time doesn’t permit. If you have other responsibilities, be flexible so you can still have your practice.

One morning my son was awake with the sparrows and so he joined me for meditation…it wasn’t what I had in mind, as I had wanted to be alone, but it worked fine, and allowed me to use my mantra of ‘acceptance’. So long as I get my 10 minutes, then ‘tick’.

2. Same time each day

For me it’s first thing in the morning, and although it wasn’t always easy, now I cannot go without it. Like I cannot leave the house without eating breakfast or brushing my teeth. It’s just non-negotiable and such a valuable part of beginning my morning.

3. Same place

If you have a cosy corner of your bedroom or lounge room, make that your space. Small is fine. It will gather a lovely vibe pretty quickly if you practice there each day!  If enough space, leave your yoga-mat or meditation cushion there….I also like to have warm blanket for the chilly mornings. But, I have to admit, I don’t worry about my yoga mat so much anymore. I used to think I couldn’t practice yoga without it, but then I realised I was creating a barrier. My place in the mornings is beside the window in my room, and I have my meditation cushion and blanket nearby; if I practice asana after my meditation, I do without my mat.

Have a ‘back up’ place also, in case that cosy corner is needed by other family members. For example I often go into my backyard in the early mornings. When I’m travelling I find a place that will be my ‘spot’ for the time. Eg, in a park, under a tree, near the beach, under a shelter…but needs to be within reasonable walking distance.  So long as you won’t be disturbed by others, or at least feel that you wouldn’t be distracted if you heard other people nearby.

4. Be prepared

If you plan an early morning practice, then think about it the night before. If you have what you need organised and nearby, there is less chance of accidently waking family members. Plus it’s hard to ‘chicken out’ when everything is all set.

In winter keep warm or you will be distracted. Rug up…scarf, beanie, extra blankets wrapped around waist/chest, explorer socks….Melbourne winter mornings can be really cold, but I no longer let that deter me! If outdoors wear shoes if it keeps your feet warm.  I’ve even practiced on chilly winter mornings with a blanket right over my head! Salute to sun as the beginning of practice brings lots of warmth. Extra padding needn’t stop you from moving your body!

In summer it’s a little easier!

5. Inspiration from classes

I find the best inspiration comes from things that I love so much that they remain in my memory. You could even take a pen & paper to class and write things down afterwards (probably not during class, unless it’s a workshop!)

If there is something from class that you love but can’t quite remember, please ask me (or those that attend other teachers, do ask your teacher, they are there to support you and your practice)! I love to be asked!

6. Other inspiration

Books, Dvds, Youtube, facebook, blogs, apps! There is so much information out there to get your inspired! The only risk is getting yourself overloaded. For that reason, books are my personal preference, because it takes me a lot longer to read and absorb the information.

A really excellent book on establishing a home practice….

Forty Days of Yoga: Breaking Down the Barriers to a Home Yoga Practice by Kara-Leah Grant.

Forty Days of Yoga: Breaking Down the Barriers to a Home Yoga Practice

And I do have lots more book recommendations, but I will save that for another time!

7. Record your practice

I highly recommend you keep a diary or notebook, so you can make notes of your practice as you go…..eg. what you practiced, how you felt? You may decide to stick with a particular practice such as seated meditation, or salute to the sun, and that helps bring a ‘rhythm’ to your practice.

Writing about it is really ideal, even if you just spend one minute afterwards. You could also write questions that you are unsure of and ask me (or your teacher) next class. Plus it keeps you accountable to yourself! AND it helps with Self-motivation!

There is also a great app that I recently added onto my phone, called ZenFriend….it’s fantastic because a)it’s free (although upgradable), b)it’s a timer with a peaceful chime, and c)it keeps track of each session and you can add a note.

There are lots more apps out there, but I look for the simple and easy ones, so that I’m not loosing valuable practice time looking at the app.

8. Reward yourself

Because you deserve it! After I reached 40 days using the guidance of Kara-Leah Grant’s book that I mentioned above, my reward to myself was booking myself in to do a reiki level one course…and I loved every second!

I hope you find some of my suggestions helpful! The final suggestion I will leave you with is the most simple and most helpful for me…because JOY allows everything to flow:

Enjoy your practice

Best wishes! Karen