Establishing a home practice

With the start of the summer break upon you, I thought I would share some notes on being able to establish a home practise, to keep you going through the holidays.

Self practise, getting the mat out on your own at home, is your time and opportunity to take what you have been learning in class and explore.  Without a teacher to guide you, you need to listen to your intuition, your inner teacher, so you can get into your own flow and do what feels right to you.  By listening into your body and your mind and trusting your intuition, you not only ensure you do a practise that suits what you need at that exact moment in time but you can also use what you learn on your mat as you step off your mat and into your daily lives.

So how do you start?

  1. Dedicate time and space – clear space in your diary and a place in your home. Make an appointment with yourself on a regular basis at a time that suits you best, as you get out of bed,  during the day, after work before you go to bed.  It just needs to be a time that you can be present on your mat.  Leave your mat out somewhere, if you can, so that you can just step on when you need to.
  2. Be flexible – it doesn’t have to be the same time every day, it doesn’t have to be the same length of time every time. We don’t always have as much time as we feel that we want to practise. If you only have 5 mins then 5 mins of breath awareness if better than nothing at all.  5 mins several times a week to forget about everything else is better than one big session only once a week. Coming to your mat regularly no matter how small a time will improve the quality of your day.
  3. What to do – once you have the time and space sorted the next big challenge is to work out what do when you get there. The best thing about home practice is that you can tailor it to your mood and energy levels each time you practise.  Start with breath awareness and setting your intention for your time on your mat. Allow yourself time to listen to your body and determine what poses, moves you need. Do a sequence of familiar poses. Allow yourself a sense of play and let go of any fear of whether you are doing it right or not.  If you follow your inner teacher, let your sub-conscious be your guide then you will have a more intuitive and more satisfying practise.
  4. Follow your breath – start and end each time on your mat with a moment of breath awareness. Let each breath become longer and take you away from your day. Use your breath as a gauge to how you are feeling.
  5. Thankfulness – remember to take time at the end of each practice to thank yourself for taking time out and for the effort you have put in and finally take a moment to notice how you feel mentally and physically as a result of your practice.

There will be challenges to your home practise as time goes by. There will be a number of reasons not to do it, there will be times that you will not manage to get to your mat either due to illness work, changes to routine, but remember to not beat yourself up for it.  Accept that these things happen understand why and commit to getting back on your mat when you can.

Most of all unroll your mats at home or on holiday with a sense of play an adventure, trust your intuition, commit some time and feel the benefits of taking your yoga home.

If all this is too daunting to do on your own, then there is always the possibility of having some one to one tuition to give you more confidence or check out ‘Yoga with Adriene’ on YouTube, she has some really lovely practises with various focus and durations.