Even though we know how awesome yoga is for us, and even though we manage to get to a yoga class, for some reason, many feel it’s more of a challenge to practice yoga at home. There is no denying the facts: yoga, as Huff Post reports, reduces stress, increases flexibility and strength, helps you achieve a state of calm and it can even help you sleep better. Yoga can enhance your athletic performance in other workouts (it can help you run faster, improves core strength and makes you more powerful), it can improve your sex life, it can help you fight headaches and protect you from injury. So if the jury was still out on whether or not you should be doing yoga, the answer is clear: give it a try.
Another amazing perk of yoga is that it can be done anywhere and it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or gear. You can practice yoga from the comforts of your living room/bedroom/backyard, and these days many people are taking the words “home practice” to heart. Perhaps it is their busy schedules, public embarrassment, or the increasing prices for yoga classes at local studios, but whatever the reason, many people are opting to practice yoga at home.
It’s easy to do in the sense that you don’t need to invest in any tools and you don’t need to leave your house, but there are some ground rules if you want to do it right. First of all, you need to commit to the practice. When you sign up for a class (and pay for that class) then you have someone and something holding you accountable. When you practice yoga at home, by yourself, you are the only one who can ensure you actually dedicate the time. Commit to at least 15 minutes of practice every day. Some days you may do more but hopefully, if you make a promise to yourself, you will never do less. And those 15 minutes of yoga daily can truly change your body, your outlook, your day and your life.
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If it is hard for you to stick to a time commitment, then use a buddy system. Just like your younger days when you had a partner in crime to watch out for at school, pick a friend you can count on and practice yoga together. That may mean you go to each other’s house for daily sessions, or it may simply mean that you check in on each other to make sure you did your 15 minutes of work. You can discuss how your practice made you feel and what you’d like to improve on. Use each other for support and motivation; it will make you both feel stronger, empowered and closer as friends.
When it comes to home yoga, keep it simple (at least to start). According to yoga teacher Jason Crandell, one of the most difficult parts of practicing yoga at home is knowing what poses to do and when, otherwise known as sequencing. “Mastering the refined and subtle art of sequencing takes years of study, but you can learn some basic building blocks that will allow you to start putting together sequences of your own and to approach your home practice with confidence” he explains. The rule of thumb to get started is to keep it simple and stick to basic poses. Once you are comfortable with that routine you can adapt your moves to fit your pace, your body and your needs.
Disconnect and focus inward. Many times people lose sight of what yoga is supposed to be about—focusing inward and being present in the moment. It can be hard to do when you are in a crowded room of people wearing tight clothes and taking #yogi selfies, but when you practice at home you can truly focus on yourself, your breath and your being. No cell phones, no kids, no emails, and no nosy neighbors; it’s time just for you.
Set the mood for optimal home yoga. Ambiance counts more than you might think, which is part of the reason people value their time in fancy yoga studios. The lighting is right, the company is focused and the room smells nice. Try to set the same tone in your own home. Yes it may take an extra few minutes of prep but it is worth it if you want to truly make the most of your home practice.
Lastly, don’t shy away from the resources available to you. You are not the first or the last person to practice yoga at home, and no one expects you to be a pro right away, especially if you’re not a pro (as in, a professional yoga instructor). You’ll need guidance and luckily there are tons of resources ranging from online yoga classes like Yoga Glo to local training sessions to literature.