Home yoga practice is a powerful regenerative force. Sometimes it feels as if my mat is magnetic – I’m so drawn to that space! It took a little trying and a little time to find it, but I’m so glad I did.
How to start a home practice might be the most common question I receive from students. I know the main reason I started practicing at home was because of cost – going to yoga class can be expensive. Once you start going to yoga class and feeling the benefits of practice, you feel like you want to do it more often and home seems like a logical place to start doing that.
There are so many poses, and how do you know if you are doing them right?
The answer to this conundrum is one reason why yoga practice is so wonderful. As long as you are sensing into what you are doing, then you are practicing, learning, and benefitting.
And learning to let go of ‘rightness’ is a great place to begin. Proper alignment definitely carries a lot of weight with me, I even consider myself to be pretty tough when it comes to alignment in my classes. But home practice is like the frontier – you aren’t following anyone and your main purpose is to explore and understand. Maybe a prospector analogy is even better since you really want to Dig Deep.
If you are looking for a place to start, then begin with location. Look for a quiet space where you won’t be easily interrupted. Lay down your mat, if you have one, and start in a position that feels right to you.
There is no need to plan out your sequence ahead of time. In fact, I recommend against doing this. Once you are committed to your space you’ll be surprised at how much you know. Maybe you don’t remember the sanskrit, that will come later. But you know how to sit cross-legged (Sukasana or easy seated pose), you know how to stand up (Tadasana or mountain pose), so start there. Maybe you can think up a challenge pose to work towards (keep it safe) – make some movements that help you warm up for and cool down from that.
Once you start moving, bring intention into what you are doing by using your breath and focusing your mind on what you are doing and the space you are in. Make it your intention to Be Present.
As you move you can begin to recall any alignment cues you know, and start to experiment more with the positioning of your body in space. And always make sure to take a nice, restful savasana (or corpse pose) at the end of your practice, that really is what it’s all about.
Keeping in touch with your inner adventurer and quest-seeker during your home practice time is one of the most important aspects of being successful in taking this on. Try to avoid taking it personally if you can’t do what you think you should be able to, and enjoy yourself!