As a first note here, it is always recommended to go and practice with the support of a professional teacher! But there are times in life that can make home practice the first choice, in the current situation in many parts of the world the only choice.
Don’t blame covid, practicing at home can also be the only alternative if you are short on money, far away from a good teacher or traveling. I can’t count the situations and locations I have pulled my mat out and felt suddenly like home. And there are some more benefits about it. Let me name them first to get you motivated!
- Ever practiced in your pyjamas? No one will care what you wear!
- No hectic drives or walks to and from the shale will keep your mind still.
- Shavasana in bed?
- If you are in a colder climate, you can keep yourself cosy.
- It can be at whatever time you set it and you won’t ever have to rush.
- You could roll out the mat on a fancy spot with a nice view.
- It makes you independent and that’s a great feeling you can complement yourself for after you made it through!
Sure, there are hurdles. The uplifting energy of the group is missing. You miss the helping hands of your teacher. Or you just can’t find a quiet, sacred space. Let’s look at some tips and tricks on how to keep the practice up at home.
- Create a routine. Program your brain. The hardest part of practicing at home are all the distractions around, duties, parents, partner, housemates, kids, pets. It’s not a bad idea to let them know! Make it a date with yourself, put it in your calendar, whatever works so that you show up for yourself. If possible, choose the same time or slot in your day.
Some of us like their coffee, tea or lemon water before, sip it mindfully. Maybe light a candle, journal, read gentle words, meditate or whatever works for you. Try not to look at your phone for at least 1 hr before helping to minimize the distracted mind.
- Sacred space. Memorize that feeling when you walk in your favorite yoga shala. What could you see, hear, smell, feel? Anything that you can bring home? A little mini altar can be easily built with a candle, nature’s treasures from your last walk (flowers, shells, stones, fedders, chrystals…), an inspiring picture or quote…be creative! Maybe burn the same incents like in your shala, or play a similar background sound. These little things can tell our mind that it’s time to focus inwards.
- Commitment. You are committing to yourself. Remember why you practice. Do not set your goals too high (aka 6 days a week full practice). Make the step on the mat first goal, convince yourself to “just” do sun salutations and then see how you feel. You will notice that the initial energy needed is the hardest part, as soon as you float you can easily do more than this! Keep yourself accountable, show yourself that you can do it alone! However, the days will fluctuate and your task is to be the observer of your mind.
And if once in a while a day comes that your body wants to stay in child’s pose very soon, allow it, do some gentle stretches, breath, meditate…and practice compassion to yourself, you show up.
- Remember your teacher. In the harvest postures, recall his/her words and teachings. Channel that inner parent that takes your hand full of love and compassion. Remember what you learned, and if there is any doubt or question popping up, don’t hesitate to send out a message. I am sure anyone will be happy that you are still practicing and supporting you.
- Cheat. Yes I am saying this out loud. See how happy you are if no one is watching and you can just use your posture sheed or notes. Time for learning! Another form of cheating is putting on a lead class video. There are these days where the mind doesn’t wanna stop wandering, so it’s totally ok! Or, join an online community and make appointments for self-practice together via zoom etc. Even better, join our online ashtanga training and find mates that are on the same journey!
I guess there are more ideas out there, feel free to share with us and the incredible global #ULUYogaFamily community