There is something truly special about experiencing yoga in a studio setting—breathing and sharing energy with those around us, and having the opportunity to separate from our everyday chatter. But some days we can’t get to the studio, whether it isn’t in our budget at the moment, or perhaps class isn’t at the right time to suit our schedule. How can we create an effective and enjoyable home asana practice to supplement group practice and further integrate yoga into our daily lives?
One of the best things about practicing in a studio is that once we step into that room and the doors close, we know we’re there until class is over, so it is easier to let go of mental chatter and distractions. At home, we are surrounded by the stuff of our lives, so the task becomes finding a spot where we can put ourselves in “time-out” for a set amount of time and minimize distractions.
Create a routine to start your practice. It can be anything that helps you focus, but here are some examples:
- 5 minutes of breathing and relaxation sitting or lying down
- 3 rounds of ‘Om,’ a chant, or repetition of a mantra
- Cat/Cow poses, linking up movement and breath
- Sun Salutations
Know What You Need
I mean “know what you need” in a couple of different ways. First, it is important to know whether you have the knowledge and desire to come up with your own asana practice, or need one you can follow. Perhaps find sequences online or in books or magazines to print (see below for some resources), or you can find a teacher you like on YouTube, or subscribe to an online class site such as YogaGlo, Yoga International, Gaiam TV, or Christina Sell Online. There is no right or wrong with this choice, so pick whichever way actually works for you.
In addition to recognizing the best way to determine a practice sequence, a home practice is a great way to tune into and respond to exactly what would balance your body and mind best in any given moment. If you have felt bored, lackluster, or sluggish, a more fiery, heart-opening, uplifting practice may be in order, but when you are anxious, spread-thin, stressed, or agitated, a grounding practice might be more appropriate.
Practice. Here are some resources for home practice.
Online class subscription sites
Save Time for Savasana
Even if it is necessary to set an alarm in case sleep takes over savasana, take savasana at the end of practice! This pose allows our breath to slow and our body to relax so that we feel enlivened by our practice and to fully receive the mental and emotional benefits of stillness. If you can, stay for 5 or more minutes in this pose.
With a home practice, we learn ourselves better. And when we really know ourselves, we can’t help but invest in ourselves, and acting in ways that enhance our well-being. As we show ourselves more love, we invite love into our lives, and that is definitely worth the effort of cultivating a home practice.