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Last week I shared with you WHY a home practice is so beneficial.  Click here if you missed it.  In case you don’t have time right now to read last week’s post, the bottom line is a personal home practice is just that – PERSONAL.  It’s all about you. 

However, for most of us, that doesn’t mean creating a home practice is easy. First you have to ask yourself, “what do I need right now?” That can be a tough question as we don’t often consider ourselves. But remember, one of the benefits of a home practice is IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU!

If you are newer to yoga, I know it can be tough to remember the poses. More advanced students often struggle with what to focus on. There are many things to consider when choosing what to do. A home practice requires focus, discipline, consistency AND FUN!

One of my teachers shared with me an idea about home practice that I still use to this day – JUST GET ON YOUR MAT FOR 10 MINUTES. Start by breathing, checking in, asking yourself, “what would feel good” and then let yourself start to move (or rest). After 10 minutes, you can choose to continue to practice or get up and go about your day. Remember, practice is about consistency – like putting money in your savings or retirement account. A little bit regularly is better than every once in awhile.

At the end of this blog you’ll see a link to a slideshow I developed on creating a home practice – if you need to know now – click the link here.

Here are some thoughts to consider when creating a home practice:

  • Can you clear a dedicated space for your practice? What does it look like? How will you make it your practice space?
  • What supplies might you need? A yoga mat, blocks, strap, blanket or cushion are always helpful as are a timer and music if you like to listen to music while you practice.
  • You might want to keep a journal or log of what you did, how you felt or what kept you from practicing.

Here’s a basic outline for your home practice (but check out the slideshow for more detailed information)

  • Take a seat (center yourself for practice)
  • Set an intention for your practice
  • Find your breath (just breathe deeply or try a pranayama technique)
  • Warm-up your body
    • start with gentle movements that you come in and out of a number of times before moving on, think of warming up all your muscles)
    • Check out these blogs (1,2,3) for warm-up ideas for your spine (remember, the spine moves in 6 directions or try this little video)
  • Start your postures
    • Seated, on all fours, belly-down, belly-up, standing
      • Try and include postures in all these positions
    • Create as balanced a practice as possible
    • Challenge yourself everyonce in awhile (longer holds, harder poses)
  • No matter what keep your breath flowing with a steady rhythm
  • Finish with relaxation

Don’t forget to add in a little fun – I often listen to chanting or even what might be called spiritual rock like Trevor Hall or Nahko and Medicine for the People.  I also try playing with my props.  For example, lie on your back with your feet up in the air (this is a modified 1/2 shoulderstand) then balance blocks on your feet for a little fun!

After you start to get the hang of things, you might forgo the basic practice (moving and working the body in all different ways) and focus on certain body parts – say shoulders or hips for instance. Just remember that over time you will want to find balance or your body might feel a little lopsided.

No matter how you sequence or what you do, remember to PAY ATTENTION TO HOW WHAT YOU DO/DID FEELS IN YOUR BODY, YOUR MIND AND EMOTIONS. This is the true gift of a home practice – witnessing and awareness.

You might find it easier when you are starting out to follow some set sequences from a book (yes yoga books are still a thing), You Tube, or you could check out this sample from my home practice sheets.

Eventually you will fall into some patterns of movement that your body enjoys but don’t forget to shake it up. To build bone and muscle and to lengthen muscles you can’t do the same thing all the time.

Whatever you do, just get started. The practice is yours and waiting for you.

Here’s the link to the slideshow. Enjoy!