I’m running a series of live workshops here in Edinburgh this Autumn, to give you all the tools you need to practice yoga at home. It’s going to be a juicy offering as I get so many people asking me how to sustain a home yoga practice. It’s also a subject that is very close to my heart. You can now book online for the 30th September / 7th October / 14th October 2017 workshop series!
I’m also giving a brief introduction to cultivating a home yoga practice here on my blog. I used to live out in Midlothian, where there weren’t (at the time at least) any yoga studios, and travelling into Edinburgh for a class took a good hour each way. I would try to get to a group class occasionally, but the majority of my practice was spent at home. These three years were actually pivotal for my yoga practice, as I learned to build a sustainable practice that works for me. This looks different for everybody, but the underlying concept is the same – finding a way to move with the breath that will keep you inspired to get on your mat regularly, but won’t burn you out or cause injury. Even today my preferred way to do yoga is to be at home, in my yoga space (formerly known as my dining room!!), without any distraction – except for my cats of course, as anybody who follows me on Instagram will know!
Today I wanted to share with you what I believe to be the most important elements to having a home yoga practice.
Creating A Space
No matter how big or small your home is, having a regular yoga practice is SO much easier if you have a space specifically designated for it. Brownie points if you have a place where your mat is always unrolled with all the props to hand and minimal clutter around it … but for a lot of us that just won’t happen.
(Insider scoop: I used to push one of my sofas out of the living room every time I did yoga, just so I had enough space. True story – which just shows the lengths of my commitment!! I am currently converting my dining room into a yoga space, and I can’t wait to not have to rearrange my house every day!)
Whether it’s a corner of your living room or bedroom, an entire room, or even the balcony – decide on a place and make it sacred. To give you some ideas to get started:
- Props – bolsters, blocks, straps, eye pillow etc
- Oil burners, candles and incense
If you want to have a regular practice, make it regular. I often tell my private clients that just showing up on your mat is enough! It doesn’t have to be a sweaty, full-on 60-90 minute asana (physical) yoga session every time. Move through some sun salutations, or 5 minutes of cat/cow breaths. Have a standby sequence that you can run through when you’re feeling uninspired. This is something we will be developing in the workshops. Sit or lie down and breathe for 5 minutes. Most of the time getting onto your mat is the hardest part, so start off small. Find a sequence that is sustainable and non-intimidating for you. Maybe sometimes you will want to do more after you’ve flowed through that. Maybe other days you won’t, and that’s ok too!
Timing is an important factor too – don’t start off with a 5am call-to-yoga alarm if you’re not a morning person. Equally, don’t tell yourself you’ll practice after dinner when you know you’ll be too full to move. I personally love my morning practice, admittedly not too early(!), but find a time that works for you.
One of the many reasons I love yoga because I get to harness my creativity in my sequencing. I love finding new flow-y transitions or tricky poses. I also adore discovering new ways of looking at alignment which help you see a familiar pose in a whole different way.
Of course, we all get stuck in a rut sometimes, which is why occasionally mixing it up is beneficial. YouTube has thousands of yoga videos to keep you inspired, and there’s plenty of video streaming services around. My favourite online yoga website is Yoga Download (not affiliated for the record, I just love it!) – they have plenty of free classes as well as memberships/one-off purchases for longer length classes. The caliber of the teachers there is excellent. And this brings me to my last point…
Don’t Give Up Your Teacher
It’s so important to regularly check in with a real live teacher. They will assist you with your practice, as well as help you correct any bad habits you may have gotten into on the mat. Nobody wants to get injured! A teacher will also keep you inspired and moving forwards in your yoga practice. The energy from moving and breathing in a group class environment is irreplaceable too! I personally love going to a group class 1-2x a week and maintaining my home practice on the other days. Of course, it’s different for everybody – your mileage may vary.
If going to a group class seems impossible or overwhelming/intimidating, private yoga classes are also a great alternative. This is the best way to get a whole hour of a teacher’s undivided attention and make sure that your home practice is safe! I am able to see some private yoga clients at their homes (props included), and I also see people one-to-one in yoga studios. Get in touch to find out more.
Again, I will be exploring this whole topic in much greater detail soon as a series of workshops – sign up to my newsletter to be kept in the loop.
UPDATE – you can now book online for my workshop series! Don’t miss out!
Love and light