Starting Your Home Practice

If the only yoga you've ever done has been in a class or following a DVD it can be difficult to know what to do once you get to the point of rolling out your mat at home. Good news - simply by rolling out your mat you've made a start! More good news - you don't have to be on the mat for a set length of time. This is your practice, your time and your space to use as you need. If you have experience of going to classes, then rather than suggesting a set sequence I advise following a few  basic guidelines:

  1. Commit to a short amount of time and practise every day rather than doing a really long practice one day and then nothing for the next 5 days. Better just to do 10 minutes every day if that's the time you can make available. You can build up the time slowly.
  2. Try to establish a quiet space for your practice and ensure the family knows you'd rather not be interrupted. This may not work, or it may be impossible if you're caring for children or others, but minimise distractions as much as you can.
  3. Begin with some simple breathing with your eyes closed. This can quickly bring you into a calm space.
  4. Keep the poses you practise simple. Do easy versions.You can work from supine upwards or standing poses, then seated and then supine to finish. There is no wrong approach, but my personal preference is to get grounded and energised by standing poses before moving onto seated poses. 
  5. Hold each pose for a minimum of 5 inhalations and exhalations, and make sure that any poses you do that are one sided, you repeat on the opposite side to keep things even.
  6. Practise poses you enjoy! If you focus on all the poses you find hard in class it's not a recipe for an enjoyable home practice that you will want to repeat. That's not to say that as time goes on you can't work on things you find challenging, but don't make that your sole focus.
  7. Allow yourself the time to enjoy a Savasana/relaxation at the end. Remember how good that makes you feel at the end of a class? Why wouldn't you want to feel as good at home?! 

Still not sure what would suit you best for your home yoga practice or want to focus on a specific area e.g. balancing or tight hips, or strength building? Perhaps consider a private lesson. More about this in next week's blog but it can be a great way of kickstarting your efforts.