I discovered yoga when I was in school. My roommate was really into yoga, so I decided to sign up for a term of a vinyasa flow class. After my very first class, I was hooked. I came home to my dingy apartment and found a free vinyasa class on YouTube, and rolled around the stained carpet for another hour. Two classes in one day: one in class, the other at home.
My current practice schedule is still a mix of in-class yoga, and at-home practice. Some days, I make the trek to a live class. Others, I stay in. This works really well for me. I live about 20 miles away from the nearest studio, so making it to a class isn’t always practical. Sometimes, class times don’t work with my schedule, so practicing at home is very convenient. Other days, I really don’t want to leave my house.
The important thing is to practice
For my 108 Days of Transformation, I made a goal of practicing yoga every day. For me, this doesn’t mean a 60 or 90-minute class in a studio, every single day. No – it means finding a little time, at least 10 minutes, to connect my body, breath and mind. Some days, this means going to the studio to practice. Others, this means 10 minutes of sun salutations behind my desk during my lunch break. Flexibility is key here, and this is what makes starting a home practice so great. You can easily make a commitment to do more yoga without creating huge sacrifices.
Starting a home practice can be really easy. You really only need some space and time.
If you need a little structure or you are fairly new to yoga, online videos, tutorials and streaming classes are a great way to get started. I’ve even used an app on my iPad that was great. Online classes, videos, and apps can be extremely cost-effective. There are a lot of free resources out there. Even the paid resources are extremely inexpensive when compared to the cost of going to a studio for class.
If you are feeling a little more free-spirited, or there is something particular you want to work on, you might wing-it or create your own flow. It doesn’t really matter if your yoga practice looks or feels anything like a class put together by an instructor. Often, when I’m practicing at home I allow myself to be free, doing whatever poses are calling to me and my body. It’s creative, and allows you to really dive deep into your own body and emotions. As long as you are listening to your body, there aren’t any hard or fast “rules” you have to follow – do whatever poses feel right.
Tips to get started
Here are a few of my tips for getting started with your own home practice:
- Clear some space. Living rooms or bedrooms work great. Seasonally, decks, lawns or patios can be great spaces. Generally, a studio’s rule of thumb is 12 square feet of space, per student. If you can accomplish that, great. If you can’t, just make sure you aren’t going to fall into or on something (e.g., chairs, countertops, kids Legos).
- Set aside some time where you won’t be distracted. Close the door, turn off your TV, and silence your phone.
- Set the mood. Turn on some music, open the curtains, or light some incense.
- Grab some props. Blankets, pillows and even couch cushions work great as bolsters. You can use a belt or a towel if you don’t have a strap.
- If you are free-styling it, warm up gently. Work through some cat / cows, neck rolls, etc. You can move through some sun salutations, speeding this up or slowing things down as needed.
An at-home practice is a great way to supplement your yoga. I would, however, still encourage you to go to classes. There are some amazing things you experience during class with an instructor present, amongst other students that you just can’t replicate at home. A home practice is a great way to balance out your practice, but for me at least, is not a complete replacement for going to a brick-and-mortar studio.
Allowing yourself space and time to move at your own speed can really encourage you to stick with a regular practice. Whether you take an online class or do your own thing, doing yoga at home can be empowering and motivate you to keep up with your practice. It doesn’t matter how or where you do it, just get out there and do some yoga!