I love going to yoga class. I really do. Those hour long classes guided by a soothing voice in a quiet room that smells like the ocean, with the lights dimmed and the temperature is just right. Yeah I love that. Who wouldn’t? But in reality, I make it to about 4 yoga classes a year. Because I have 3 kids and my husband works out of town and if I get a babysitter it’s so I can drink wine with my girlfriends, not to go to a workout class. So I’ve had to make my own practice at home. I’ll be honest, at first it felt like this was a consolation. Like it was second best to being able to go to a class. But once I had gotten comfortable(and memorized a few favourite flows), I realized that I was actually getting so much more from my yoga practice.
These days the only decision is “pants? or no pants?”
First of all, I didn’t waste any time driving or packing a bag, and that meant more time to dedicate to my practice. Let alone having to pick an outfit. I can’t even think about how much time I’ve wasted trying to pick just the right outfit for yoga. Should I go bohemian free spirit? Or lululemon power mom? (These days the only decision is “pants? or no pants?”) And with that I also spent less mental energy on things other than my practice. Since yoga is as much mind as it is body, every bit of that mental space is incredibly valuable. Second, I learned how to turn on my “yoga mind” really quickly. I didn’t need the teachers guidance to get into my mind and body to start my practice. My mental “cues” for getting started in my practice were no longer “Studio, pay 20$, teacher, soft music, roll out mat, wonder if I’m too close to the person beside me, why is that guy so sweaty we haven’t started yet?, shhhhh I’m trying to do yoga”. But instead they were: Roll out mat. Pants optional. That’s all I needed to get myself ready to practice. This saved me time and deepened my practice by putting me in the driver’s seat of my yoga journey. I no longer needed another person to tell me it was time to begin. ** Third; I have had a chance now to learn from so many teachers, through books, videos and the fabulous internet that I have a better understanding of my own personal practice and how I want yoga to look and feel like for me.
“I have a better understanding of .. how I want yoga to look and feel like for me.”
Yoga is no longer “trendy”, the masses have moved on and instead now it’s become exclusive and elite, with expensive boutique studios leaving us SAHM’s and other “normal” people feeling left out. But yoga is for everyone. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t have to be expensive to add value to your life and it doesn’t have to be an hour in a sweaty studio full of strangers for it to be genuine. That’s all up to you. You’ve made it this far so I know you want to make yoga part of your life. So I’ve compiled a short list of the things you need to start an at home yoga practice. And you don’t have to buy anything to get started. So you can start right now, today. Read on future yogi, you’re one of us now 🙂
5 Things You Need To Start An At Home Yoga Practice.
1. a basic knowledge of your own anatomy.
No, you don’t need a kin degree or a PT certification. But you do need to know your right from your left and your head from your toes. Being aware of your own personal physical limitation is also important. Any old lingering injuries, muscle tightness or joint hyper mobility or flexibility will not greatly alter your practice, especially as a beginner, but it is a good thing to be aware of to prevent further injury and discomfort. Since you’ll be practicing alone at home, it’s important to be present in your body and aware of how it’s feeling, since there wont be anyone there to remind you! Try this 1 min meditation to get in touch with your body and how it is feeling today: Lying on the floor, or in bed, imagine your whole body is an ice cube. Then, beginning at your toes and working all the way up to the top of your head, visualize your body melting away to nothing. If other thoughts in your head, acknowledge them, and let them go to return to your melting meditation.
2. 5 minutes per day.
Yoga classes are typically an hour long, but that absolutely does not mean that 60 minutes is required in order to have a practice. Your at home practice can be as little as 5 minutes, a few times a week. I truly believe in consistency over quantity in all things. Maintaining a regular practice a few minutes per day for a year would benefit you far more than making a few hour long classes with weeks of nothing in between. Try a Sun Salutation (2minutes) by following along with the video HERE. A few of these is all your need.
3. some inspiration.
Find someone who you can learn from. Maybe a big book of yoga? Maybe a Youtube channel with some great beginner flows. I have a beginner’s guide for new yogis called Stop, Drop & Flow that can get you on the mat, learn more about it here. Find someone whose teaching style you connect with or learn on your own terms from resources like books or websites. Once you’ve found a teacher you like, stick with them until you feel you have learned the basics. It’s great to challenge our knowledge and practice by learning from lots of different teachers, but when you’re starting out, it’s more important that your practice comes easily and naturally. And the best way to do that is by following an instructor who uses language, voice, and speed you feel comfortable with. (This is typically why people quit yoga, or why they are scared to start in the first place. Yoga is not just one thing. It takes on different forms to all of us, so try out teachn from a few different people. There are so many ways to share yoga, and it may take a few tries to find yours. Thank goodness for the internet!)
And not even that much of it. Enough room on the floor to lay out your mat. Enough space to reach your hands above your head and you are good to go. Of course bigger space is great. Yoga is great outdoors as the fresh air can be cleansing and relaxing. But if you don’t have a lot of space that is just fine. Use what you have. Your mat can be used over any kind of flooring, it doesn’t have to be hardwood like a yoga studio. They work just as well over carpet or soft floors. ** I also ask that you make space in your mind and your heart for your new practice. This is far more important than the physical space you create. Give yourself space and grace to be a beginner. Create a space where it’s okay to be new, stiff, awkward. Your space is completely yours and totally safe. Create an empty place in your busy brain where you can go to when its time to practice. When you come to youur mat, visualize this space and try to stay there for your practice.
5. a yoga mat.
Ultimately this is optional as well. I do lots of yoga without, since there is almost always one child or another sleeping in my “yoga space”. But eventually you will want to get one. It definitely does not have to be fancy, just enough to keep your hands and feet from slipping on the floor or carpet. I have seen mats for $4.00 at the Dollarama and I personally own one that cost $100. I’m sure there are ones that cost many times more as well. The price is not important. It’s the practice that counts. That’s it, I’ve given you everything you need to begin. This means you can start today. There is no reason to wait. If you want to try yoga, the time is now. And if you think yoga isn’t for you, then I STRONGLY suggest trying it. Because it’s probably exactly what you need.
There is only one more thing you need to begin your own at home yoga practice. And that is a group of women who are also starting their own at-home practices. And I can bring that to you, right in your home. When your purchase the Stop, Drop & Flow Yoga Program, you not only get 10 flows in both video and PDF format with a glossary of over 30 poses, but you will also be added to join a private Facebook Community where we will share our yoga journeys through pictures, questions and continuing education. I will be present in the community regularly to answer questions and bring new challenges.
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