Tips for Your Home Practice
If there’s anything that a global pandemic has taught us, it’s that developing a home yoga practice can be beneficial. If you’re like many other Shedders and struggled to practice from home, we understand! Creating a space that is ideal for a yoga practice takes time, effort, and, well, practice. It may require adjusting your home schedule and moving around furniture. And if you have children or pets running around the house, how can you expect to get any peace and quiet?
Our Yoga-Shed teachers are here to share some of their best tips on how we practice from home. All it takes is a few minutes out of your day to start building the habit.
Set up a designated space if you can and don’t overcommit. If you don’t have the space to keep a mat out, consider making a small altar with a candle or an inspiring photo . Start with 5 minutes and see where it takes you. You can even start with a simple one minute meditation to slow down and reset your breathe. Even one minute of intentional practice is better than none.
Tip #2: Apply Alignment to Everyday Tasks
In the morning, do wall push from your kitchen counter waiting for the coffee to brew. Weave in forward folds, padangusthasana, or malasana (garland pose) throughout the day. Set your shoulders while waiting in line at Publix. Alternate between mountain pose and utkatasana (chair pose) when you talk on the phone.
Tip #3: Explore Yoga Postures with Modifications
Don’t be afraid to try new and more challenging asanas, so that your home practice doesn’t get dull. How do you go about trying something new without the direct guidance from your teacher? By using modifications! Challenge yourself mindfully by modifying the yoga posture to fit your needs and abilities.
If you’re not sure, get stuck, or have any physical limitations/injuries, just ask your teacher. We are happy to help and will find the best solution that works for you and your body!
For example, pregnancy completely changes your body. Until I talked to my doula, I was unsure what would bring relief to my achy and changing body and would also be the most beneficial to my baby. Knee-to-chest position, or what we call “puppy pose” in yoga, brings relief to achy hips, groins, and spine while aligning baby to help keep him in the most ideal position for labor and delivery. I added extra support (refer to picture) to make it even more comfortable for me. This can also be easily done at home by wrapping the strap around the doorknob of a closed door!
Tip #4: Practice Self-Compassion
A home practice offers more opportunity for cultivating patience, compassion, self-study and equanimity than you might think.
At home you will be interrupted, and you won’t always have complete silence or the perfect space. It is a unique opportunity to work on your reactivity, to pause and exhale before dealing with the interruption. You don’t have the teacher taking note of imbalances in your body, so you’re required to look within – to become your own teacher, to refine your sensitivity to what’s happening in your own body.
Your expectations of how your practice should go will be challenged – providing you with a chance to observe your own relationship with change and difficulty. Maybe you want to practice Urdhva Dhanurasana today, and feel you need an energizing and empowering practice. Then your body says “Nope. Not today”. So you adapt, and find a way to practice that works for you in that moment.
I’ve had home practices where there’s unavoidable noise around me and I had to really work to tame the monkey mind. Sometimes I’ll practice on the floor in front of the tv. I once watched my teacher, Abhijata, being interrupted by her small child, and seeing how she handled it with compassion and focus was awe inspiring. Having my daughter get inspired by and want to try shoulder stand and show her friends has made my heart swell. And seeing my students & teachers on Zoom with various fur babies has offered a new opportunity to connect.
Don’t stress over the fact that there are many distractions at home – they will make you a more compassionate, patient and ardent student if you embrace those opportunities.
Tip #5: Broaden Your Yoga Knowledge
If time or space is limited, or even if you just don’t feel like rolling out the mat today, then pick up a yoga book or listen to a podcast. You can learn so much about your own practice by reading or listening to resources that relate to yoga. There are numerous yoga books and podcasts that exist. It only takes a few minutes a day to explore what’s out there.
- Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar
- How to Meditate by John Novak
- Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday
- Yoga Nidra by Richard Miller PhD