Yoga: try this at hOMe

Practicing yoga chez vous sounds like an awesome idea, but it can present unique challenges. When you go to a studio class, you pretty much feel obligated to stick it out, almost no matter what: you made the time and effort to get there, you paid the $, your family/pets are not there to distract you, etc. At home, if the phone rings, you just might be tempted to leave your mat and answer it. And then not come back.

So how to create a home practice that has staying power? I’ve been doing this for years, with reasonable success, so I thought I would share some of my tips and techniques. I will say that I have mixed feelings about complete beginners trying this at home, without a few good solid yoga classes under their belts…do yourself a favor and invest in a few classes to get a foundation in the basics. Then your home practice can blossom from those carefully planted seeds.
My favorite at-home yoga – the Sun Salutation. And don’t tell me you can’t remember it on your own. Because you can, and it’s great work for your mind-body connection to memorize it. If you have this sequence ingrained in your memory – and it comes from within vs. without, with someone always leading you through it – you’ll notice how effortlessly it will flow for you, even on low-energy days. This is the cornerstone of my yoga practice. 3 As, 2 Bs. Or any combination thereof, up to 5 of each. More help with Surya Namaskar here.

Any at-home yoga is a good thing. So, you might not get your 90 minutes of sweaty yoga flow on, but even one pose has potential. Don’t be intimidated by being alone or without a teacher. Choose a few poses you remember from classes that you know you like or want to work on (after warming up with Sun Salutations), check out all the yoga tutorials online (choose from many of mine on the Athleta Chi), or get on iTunes and try a podcast. There are many podcasts out there, so you have to explore a bit to find a good fit. My current favorites are by a Jivamukti teacher named Jessica Stickler, and by a Baptiste Power studio called Three Dog Yoga (note that these are not really for beginners).
Dedicate space. You don’t have to have an official at-home yoga studio, although it’s certainly nice – I myself finally took the plunge (my studio space is pictured above), after years of rolling out my mat in the middle of the living room. All you have to do is clear an area that is somewhat removed from potential distractions. Approach with this determined attitude: if you can’t find it, make it. Set the intention to dedicate a small area to your well-being, because you deserve it. It may take some time and effort, but eventually family members, pets, perhaps even inanimate objects will respect this space. Create a small “altar”, where you can place objects that you like and that inspire you: your journal, flowers, photos, books, candles. Find out more about creating an at-home sanctuary here.
Invest in a few yoga props. Truly, all you need is a yoga mat…but the addition of a block, blanket and strap can open up new worlds in your at-home yoga practice. And they’ve become so ubiquitous that you can get them at the grocery store, and if not there, Target. And if not there, google yoga props and order them online.
Go ahead – try some yoga at hOme. Namaste.