Start a yoga practice at home
Yoga is my religion. Whenever I hit the mat it’s a ritual, a time to pray and a time to fully express myself in mind, body and soul. Whatever I’m feeling and experiencing in my daily life, yoga allows me to embody that. To own it. To breathe into it. Lean into it.
So it’s no surprise to me that my yoga practice has evolved and changed as I have done the same over the last 7 years.
Some yogis are very dedicated to and maintain a powerful bond with one particular style of yoga. I love them for that commitment and that unbreakable union. For me though, yoga is about flexibility, and not just of the stretchy kind. I have to be flexible and experimental with yoga, because it keeps my mind much the same. It allows my soul to expand a little more and helps me to stay ‘unattached’.
Over the last few years I’ve really honed my self-practice. Learning how to carve out the time and space in my home to unroll my mat and ‘pray’ is something I directly thank the practice of Ashtanga Yoga for. Practicing Mysore Yoga for 2+ years gave me so much to be grateful for – mainly the ability to move and breathe, creatively and autonomously.
What has been the most beautiful aspect of my self-practice is learning how to mould the practice in direct response to my feelings, emotions and life circumstances.
For example; When I need a really strong dynamic practice I get the chance to experiment, push my own boundaries, play and dive right in. When I to hold myself delicately – perhaps my heart is feeling fragile – I am able to create a practice that flows, intuitively and wraps me up in it’s nourishing embrace. And now, being pregnant, I’m not only learning to respect new limitations of my body but I’m even more embodied. I now move in a way that feels respectful of the physical, emotional, mental and energetic transformation I’m going through, but that also honours the life I am nurturing and growing.
Start a yoga practice at home and you’ll learn how to guide yourself on AND off your yoga mat. Not just in how you move your body, but tuned in to your mind and soul.. It’s about integrating your mind, body and soul as you learn to reference every layer of your being – respecting and responding to what is needed.
Self-practice cultivates self-healing.
It’s almost as if you were in your own personal counseling session. The yoga mat is the therapist’s lounge. And instead of words there is the breath. Instead of advice there is the movement. Instead of venting there is the quiet meditative stillness of savasana (final relaxation).
To supplement my self-practice I frequently attend classes, visit my favourite teachers, use online resources like YogaGlo and attend workshops and teacher training courses. It reboots and reinspires me. And then, once again I take that fresh knowledge back to my mat and my space.
The other HUGE reason why I highly recommend you start a yoga practice at home is the simple fact that you can take yoga anywhere. Practice in your living room. Stretch it out by the beach at sunrise. Get bendy in a park under your favourite tree. Iron yourself out at the airport between long flights. Wherever you land and travel too yoga can be there with you – the ritual of it. The inward focus of it. The solitude. The peace. The opening….
It is so deeply supportive to take yoga with you. To truly ‘yoke’ yoga into your life to me feels like a lifeline. An umbilical cord back to myself and my centre, no matter where I am.
With all that being said, I want to help you, if you are ready to start a yoga practice at home
Here are a few tips that you might find useful.
- First off, if you don’t already have one buy yourself a yoga mat. I love Manduka yoga mats. But my all-time favourite is the Lululemon ‘Le Mat’. Sturdy, good grip. Great on carpet and even outdoors.
- Suit yourself up in a yoga get-up that makes you eager to practice and get a gorgeous candle you might like to light whilst practicing (when at home).
- And finally, get a playlist going. Sometimes I like to practice in silence. Otherwise I like to move to music – it might be a floaty, ethereal and softly-softly vibe, otherwise it’s punchy, raw and banging!
- If you are already practicing yoga quite a bit, and attending many classes I invite you to begin by dedicating yourself to one or two 20 minute sessions at home. Don’t feel stressed about what to do. Don’t fuss about planning a sequence and don’t over commit. Just carve out (book it into your diary!) the time and roll your mat out.
- Do a few cat + cow stretches, hang out in child’s pose. Get down with your dog. Chuck in a few sun salutations and standing poses. It doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’, just do something.
- If you are completely new to yoga I would first advise you to visit a local studio and do a beginner’s courses. Whilst you are doing that try to practice a few of the poses you’ve been doing in class at home. At the end of an amazing class once I was back in my car I take a moment to note down in my phone the poses/sections of sequences that I loved! I’d then try to resurrect them another day when I was back at home and on my mat.
- Another suggestion – visit my YouTube channel and check out some of my instructional videos and classes. Sign-up to YogaGlo or GaiaM TV. These are great online resources for those of you that still feel you need guidance but want to practice at home.
- Finally, be committed, be dedicated. You need focus when starting something new. Don’t give yourself an ‘out’ if you’ve carved out the time. Even if you just do 5 minutes, do something.
Ok, I hope that’s helped you understand the power of a self-practice and perhaps how to start your own. If you have already one I’d love to hear how you started your own practice. If not, do share with me if this is something you are keen to try and why.
Pop your comments below and let’s open up the conversation.
Love + light,
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