Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bringing Yoga Home...5 Ways to Benefit from a Home Practice

You’ve heard it said a million is a daily practice. In your head you try to figure out whose classes you can attend and which times might fit your schedule.  Classes are not necessarily catering to the times which are available to you. Frustrated, you start to wonder how you get a daily practice in? You understand that the benefits of daily practice will be a good thing, but you are still left sorting out the logistics of it.  Finally, you come upon the simple answer! Add a home practice to complement the class practices you are able to make at your yoga studio or gym.
Enjoy these 5 benefits by establishing a home practice:
  1. Set your own times. Practice yoga while you are still in your pajamas if you feel like it!
  2. Stay centered. Practicing each day is much like taking a look in the mirror before you go out into the world. You get a chance to check in on how you feel and establish your self-confidence and self-worth.
  3. Retain strength and flexibility over time. Practicing once a week will not retain flexibility any more than dieting once a week will help you lose weight. Increasing the number of days you practice by adding a home practice can completely change your level of strength and flexibility and provide quicker physical progress as far as asanas (poses) are concerned.
  4. Move at your own pace. In a class you may feel rushed or even anxious to keep up with the teachers cues. In your own space you have the opportunity to really take your time with your breath and make sure you feel truly open in your pose before moving onto the next one.
  5. Bring the sacredness of your practice home. Change your perspective on what it means to have a yoga practice. Not just having to go to a specific place to allow your yoga to happen, but letting your practice exist wherever you happen to be. This can be quite a liberating experience.
The hard part is the many pitfalls we all have in our lives; children, pets, phone, computer, TV, lack of space, lack of motivation and other distractions such as chores. These pitfalls will help justify why you just cannot get a practice in at home if you let them. So how do you get around this? Start by closing your eyes and thinking about what the biggest pitfalls are for you when you are at home. Planning how to overcome those challenges will make you better able to maintain a home practice.
To help get you through this part here are some tips on overcoming those pitfalls:
  • Invest in a gate to keep out kids and pets.
  • Throw a tapestry over the computer and TV if they are in the same room as you will be practicing in. You will create a more welcoming space.
  • Turn the computer and the telephone off. If you must keep your computer on, check out some Youtube videos of yoga for inspiration or to follow along to.
  • Design your yogic space! This can be as simple or ornate as you like. Create a home altar that is mobile (candles, incense, statues, crystals, pictures of family or whatever you hold sacred and special to you). Dim the lights. Add a serenity fountain or some other connection to the elements. Play your favorite yoga music. Try to use a corner or space near a wall - you won’t need anything larger than the size of your yoga mat. If you do have a wall to use, a great motivator is to put up a picture of you in your favorite yoga pose or a picture of a pose you are trying to work towards. This will keep you inspired and you can change up the picture whenever you want. Keep a bottle of water and a towel handy so you don’t feel the need to leave your space once you have begun your practice.
Remember you can always start small. Maybe just bring 5 sets of sun salutations into your home practice at first and see if you can commit to that. As you build consistency, increase the duration of your home practice. And if you are having a rough day, take a seat on your mat or zafu (meditation cushion) and take 5 minutes to close your eyes and center your body, breath and mind. This is far better than skipping the practice altogether. Within a week you will feel like a new person and I promise you will begin to see changes in your practice and your perspective. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”. 
~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.


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