Yoga is essentially an inquiry. An inquiry into ourselves. An inquiry to observe our actions and reactions. An inquiry to get to know ourselves a little better. An inquiry to tolerate the consequences of being ourselves a little more. And hopefully an inquiry to LOVE ourselves a little more.
A home and personal yoga practice is essential to receive all of these benefits. The experience is yours. The practice is yours. You get to shape it into whatever you need, whatever you want.
OWN IT! The journey of self-inquiry is profound and endless.
Below are some of my best tips to get you started on this rich path to deeper SELF LOVE in your home yoga practice!
1. Give yourself the gift of space
Creating a space at home or the office where you will do your practice can help remind you of your intentions and also encourage you to practice. Knowing that you have a space that you can use can be half of the battle. And the more you practice in it, the more that space will remind you of how good you feel during and after your practice. Your space can be filled with your props and any other visual cues like an altar or a poster displaying an intention or affirmation. Often anxiety about the other obligations we have in our life can overpower our desire to begin or maintain our own home daily practice so having those visual cues of your dedication can be very helpful. Give yourself the gift of creating a little space in your life and in the day that will be a sacred practice for self-care.
2. No rules
A yoga practice is just that, a practice and twenty minutes of daily yoga practice is more likely to show positive results sooner than two hours of occasional practice. So allow yourself to let go of a rigid idea of what your home daily yoga practice should look like and see if there are any natural breaks in your day that might lend themselves to begin a practice with the time available.
Take some time at the beginning of your practice to notice how your body is feeling. Are there places in your body where you need to release tension and stretch? Are there place that need more gentleness and compassion? Do you have energy you need to release? Also notice what is happening in your mind. What kind of mood are you in today? What kind of thoughts are you thinking? Are there any shifts you would like to make in your mind that your yoga practice could help you with? Notice your breath too. Your breath can be an excellent indicator of how you are doing. Is your breath fast or shallow? Are you able to breath easily into all parts of your torso? Use this information to get a feel for what you need from your practice each day.
4. Use your breath
Use your breath at the beginning of your practice to clear your mind, setting the intention that you will be present with your body, mind and breath for your whole practice. You can begin with deep belly breaths and work into a three-part breath or ujjayi breath.
5. Choose Your Asana
Asanas are the poses we do in our yoga practice. For your asana practice it is nice to start with some poses to warm up your body like the six movements of the spine (cat/cow, side stretch and twists) and a few sun salutations. From there you could move into other poses based on how your body and mind are feeling that day. You can get ideas for which poses to do by making some mental notes in class on how the different poses make you feel and which ones you like or feeling like might be healing for you. If want some more help and guidance with a personalized therapeutic home practice, you could see me for Private Yoga Therapy Sessions.
6. Get Creative
- Have kids and find it hard to make time for your practice? Make your yoga practice “Family Fun Time”.
- Standing in line at the grocery store? Come into Tadasana and take a few conscious breaths.
- Feeling tension in your neck and shoulders at work? Take a five minute break and do the 6 movements of your spine right from your office chair.
- Having trouble sleeping? Lay in your bed and swing your legs up the wall coming into the Great Rejuvenator, Vipariti Karani.