Starting Your Home-based Yoga Practice

Finding the right yoga class and/or instructor can be difficult. But even more challenging is when you begin your transition to a home-based practice. You’ll know it’s time to start your home practice when your desire to do yoga exceeds the number of times you’re able to make it to a class per week. This desire creates the need for you to be able to do yoga anywhere and not be confined to an instructor-led practice.

What is home-based yoga?

Independent yoga practice, without the guidance of a yoga instructor or in a formal setting.

Why start a home-based practice?

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with sequences as well as proper alignment and modifications, you can strengthen your practice by doing yoga at home. By practicing both at home and at a studio, you become more confident in your practice thus more skilled.

Preparing for Yoga at Home:

  • Take a class – Sounds counter intuitive but let me explain: If you’re completely new to yoga, taking a class will help you get a general understanding of styles, different poses, and what your body is comfortable with. You may not like everything about your class but take note because those dislikes will inspire the changes you’ll want to make for your home practice.
  • Make space – Yoga (or any disciplined practice, for that matter) is easily mastered when we remove barriers. If you know that you have to rearrange furniture and get your mat out of the trunk, you’re less likely to start. By designating a corner of your home to yoga, there’s little reason to not squeeze in at least a few minutes of practice.
  • Set a timer – Give yourself a set number of minutes that you’d like to aim for each day. Start small with anything from 10-20 minutes and simply commit to committing. It doesn’t matter if you spend the entire time working on one pose; the goal here is just to get on the mat.
  • Start with a basic sequence – Yoga, a series of postures and physical movement, is best learned with a standard sequence that you can build on over time. After attending a couple of classes (YouTube counts), pick out some of your favorite poses and do just those – over and over…and over again. Muscle memory will help you get more comfortable in your practice until you learn more poses and can freestyle a sequence. A basic sequence could include sun salutations, balancing poses, sitting poses, and end in restorative poses.
  • Make a sandwich – Add yoga in between two of your daily rituals and watch how much easier it becomes. For example, if you drink tea and check email every morning, considering doing 10 minutes of yoga while your computer starts up, that way you don’t disrupt the flow of your day. Just like designating a space for your practice, by adding into a routine that you already have established, you minimize barriers and strengthen this healthy habit.

If any of this (especially sequencing poses) sounds daunting, give yourself some time to just enjoy learning yoga before taking it on independently. Until you’re ready to practice on your own, join a class and rely on the many resources available to you online. Believe me, your body will tell you when it’s time to start working on your home practice.

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