Home Practice -partly derived from an article in "Yoga International " by Jason Crandell

Home practice doesn’t have to be anywhere near as long as a weekly class to be effective.  

So here are some guidelines to help overcome the three biggest hurdles we all face in establishing a regular home practice (meaning we do it more days than we don’t):

  • Complacency (how to make yourself actually do it)
  • Fear (what to do when you actually start)
  • Busyness (how to find the time)

Benefits of home practice

Self-knowledge – practicing on your own helps you learn to self-regulate and self-soothe.  It’s like driving your own car versus being chauffeured – more attention to what you’re doing, and choice etc. (Jason Crandell again)

Self-help – the more you practice, the better you’ll become at assessing how you feel, so when you first come to the mat, you can choose a practice that counterbalances whatever’s going on – mentally, physically and emotionally.

Self-indulgence – you can do whatever you feel like, take anywhere from 2 to 90 minutes and do what you want at the pace, tone and intensity you choose.

Exponential growth – The consistency of a regular practice offers benefits that double and then double again.

Tips for designing your own practice

  1. Start with quiet, seated or savasana, to see how you feel and decide what you need
  2. Pick a direction
    • if tired and pressed for time, a short restorative practice;
    • If full of energy, opt for a more vigorous routine
    • If you need grounding & stability, focus on standing asanas
    • If you need energy, incorporate back bends
  3. Set a practice intention: e.g. creating a sense of spaciousness in a specific part of the body; working on a specific practice or asana; or noticing and letting go of any emotions that arise, without judgement
  4. Choose asanas you love – carrot, not stick
  5. Pay attention in class –maybe even make mental notes of aspects you enjoy
  6. Move in all directions: forward bends, backbends, side bends, twisting and inverted (parvatasana the mountain counts as an inversion)

The when and the where

  1. Give yourself permission to spend 10 or 15 minutes as an investment in becoming more focused and productive.
  2. Choosing a dedicated space in your house, if possible, can help create a space in your psyche for a practice to take root.  It only needs to be the size of a yoga mat.

How to keep going, no matter what

When life piles up, get creative.  “At its heart, a yoga practice is an intention to observe your actions and reactions.  It doesn’t necessarily have to take a certain form.”  “If you can breathe, you can do yoga: practice gentle pranayama exercises, or meditate, when you’re laid up in bed…..what really matters is your dedication”