Simple steps to improve your at-home yoga practice
Life is busy. Money is tight. It’s hard to get out of your pajamas in the morning. There always seems to be a reason why yoga takes the back burner in your life – and it’s understandable! All of the aforementioned excuses are valid. What’s not valid is letting your yoga practice go by the wayside simply because you can’t make it into the studio every day. An easy solution – and one that many people underestimate – is bringing your yoga practice to you. Thankfully, yoga mats fit just about anywhere, and that includes your living room and your front porch. Here are a few free, quick and easy ways to revamp your at-home yoga practice from the comfort of your own jammies!
1. Learn the poses
You can’t practice yoga at home if you don’t know the moves! If you’re a novice yogi (or a veteran who simply hasn’t taken the time to absorb any of the movements), dedicate your next few practices to learning them. Start with Surya Namaskar – AKA Sun Salutation – and work your way up from there. Sun Salutations are a great place to begin because they can act as a warmup or a standalone practice. The series heats the body from the inside out and stimulate energy flow, making it an excellent go-to if you’re new to being your own yoga guide. Plus, it’s fairly easy to memorize.
www.absoluteyogaacademy.com/the-50-hot-yoga-poses is a great resource that offers step-by-step instructions to help you get into poses, as well as cues to correct your alignment.
Sun Salutations are a great place to begin because they can act as a warmup or a standalone practice – and they're easy to memorize!
2. Get inspired
The best way to get inspired is to take regular yoga classes – but that’s not always in the cards. If your schedule is too busy to allow room for guided practice, draw inspiration from other sources like the internet, or simply listen to music! Avoid spending too much time online and focus on what you’re there for – motivation! Once you’ve found it, set your phone or laptop aside and make your way onto your mat.
3. Set an intention
Most instructors will invite you to set an intention at the beginning of class – and you can use this tool to fuel your at-home practice! Sit with a tall spine, soften the shoulders away from the ears, and draw your attention to your breath. Close down through the eyes and set your intention – something you want to gain from your practice, or something you’d like to let go. Then start moving! The good thing about practicing at home is that there’s no one there to see what you’re doing, so you can flow in a way that feels good for you! Throughout your practice, return to your initial intention to avoid losing interest. Instead of stopping when you get bored (or when you think of all the cleaning that needs to be done around the house), use your intention to guide you until your body and mind have fully benefited. Only then is your practice truly complete.
Throughout your practice, return to your initial intention to avoid losing interest.
4. Set goals
Yes, this goals are different from intentions. While intentions are energy-focused, goals are action-focused. At the beginning of every week (or day – whatever serves you best) write down some yoga goals that you’d like to accomplish. Your goal can be as big or as small as you’d like it to be – just make sure it holds you accountable to growth. If you’re just starting out, set smaller goals that are easier to achieve. Set your mind to practicing for five minutes every morning, for example. Once you’ve done that consistently for a couple weeks, decide whether it’s time to raise the bar. Remember – realistic, short-term goals are the key to success.
5. Download a yoga app
These days, all the cool yogis are using apps. Just kidding… you don’t need technology to practice yoga. But it certainly doesn’t hurt! If you don’t have the time to make it to a studio, there’s an app called “Yoga Studio” that basically has the same affect. While it doesn’t create the energetic environment that only comes with practicing amongst other living, breathing humans, it does offer vocal and visual instructions that lead you through a number of pre-set classes. Pocket Yoga is a similar program that even tracks how many calories you’ve burned!
Keep in mind that practicing yoga at home isn’t easy. Some yoga instructors even find it difficult to do, especially when they draw inspiration from other people! But there are many benefits to a consistent at-home practice that make the journey well worth it. So don’t give up!