Handy hints to develop your home practice (Part 1) March 02 2015, 1 Comment
Love yoga or want to get started but don't have the time to make it to classes?
I'm hearing you! Lately, I've been running around like a wild goose and my yoga practice has suffered. I keep finding myself making excuses for not doing at least 15 or 30 minutes at home if I don't make it to class. I will confess though I've been playing around with scorpion pose up against my wardrobe but that has been the extent!
I've had a number of questions from the Yogamona community over the last few months asking about how to start a home practice. What do I need, what are your tips, what online programs do you suggest? Today is a special guest post by Karen Buckland who is a yoga teacher from Melbourne. Karen is here to kick off this series and share some great tips on how to get started AND commit to your yoga practice at home.
I hope you enjoy! Over to you Karen.
So you’ve attended a number of yoga classes or you want to start your own home practice and are wondering how to make it work for you?
Here’s a few hints that I hope will help.
1. Keep it simple and realistic
My current commitment is just 10 minutes each day. I do suggest each and every day; it might sound a bit scary but this is a commitment to yourself. Sometimes I just practice for 10 minutes, but usually longer… if time permits! I am a mother, so sometimes time doesn’t permit. If you have other responsibilities, be flexible so you can still have your practice.
One morning my son was awake with the sparrows and so he joined me for meditation… it wasn’t what I had in mind, as I had wanted to be alone, but it worked fine, and allowed me to use my mantra of ‘acceptance’. So long as I get my 10 minutes, then ‘tick’.
2. Same time each day
For me it’s first thing in the morning, and although it wasn’t always easy, now I cannot go without it. Like I cannot leave the house without eating breakfast or brushing my teeth. It’s just non-negotiable and such a valuable part of beginning my morning.
3. Same place
If you have a cosy corner of your bedroom or lounge room, make that your space. Small is fine. It will gather a lovely vibe pretty quickly if you practice there each day! If enough space, leave your yoga-mat or meditation cushion there… I also like to have warm blanket for the chilly mornings. I have to admit, I don’t worry about my yoga mat so much anymore. I used to think I couldn’t practice yoga without it, but then I realised I was creating a barrier. My place in the mornings is beside the window in my room, and I have my meditation cushion and blanket nearby; if I practice asana after my meditation, I do without my mat.
Have a ‘back up’ place in case that cosy corner is needed by other family members. I often go into my backyard in the early mornings. When I’m travelling I find a place that will be my ‘spot’ for the time. For example, in a park, under a tree, near the beach, under a shelter. It needs to be within reasonable walking distance. So long as you won’t be disturbed by others, or at least feel that you wouldn’t be distracted if you heard other people nearby.
4. Be prepared
If you plan an early morning practice, then think about it the night before. If you have what you need organised and nearby, there is less chance of accidentally waking family members. Plus it’s hard to ‘chicken out’ when everything is all set.
In winter keep warm or you will be distracted. Rug up…scarf, beanie, extra blankets wrapped around waist/chest, explorer socks… Melbourne winter mornings can be really cold, but I no longer let that deter me! I’ve even practiced on chilly winter mornings with a blanket right over my head! Salute to sun as the beginning of practice brings lots of warmth. Extra padding needn’t stop you from moving your body!
It's just moved into Autumn here in Australia so it is much easier!
5. Inspiration from classes
I find the best inspiration comes from things that I love so much that they remain in my memory. You could even take a pen & paper to class and write things down afterwards (probably not during class, unless it’s a workshop).
If there is something from class that you love but can’t quite remember, ask your teachers, as they are there to support you and your practice. I love to be asked!
6. Other inspiration
Books, DVDs, YouTube, Facebook, blogs, apps! There is so much information out there to get your inspired! The only risk is getting yourself overloaded. For that reason, books are my personal preference, because it takes me a lot longer to read and absorb the information.
An excellent book on establishing a home practice….
Forty Days of Yoga: Breaking Down the Barriers to a Home Yoga Practice by Kara-Leah Grant.
7. Record your practice
I highly recommend you keep a diary or notebook, so you can make notes of your practice as you go. For example, what poses you practiced and how you felt? You may decide to stick with a particular practice such as seated meditation, or salute to the sun, and that helps bring a ‘rhythm’ to your practice.
Writing about it is really ideal, even if you just spend one minute afterwards. You could also write questions that you are unsure of and to ask your teacher next class. Plus it keeps you accountable to yourself! AND it helps with self-motivation!
There is also a great app that I recently added onto my phone, called ZenFriend. It’s fantastic because:
a) it’s free (although upgradable)
b) it’s a timer with a peaceful chime
c) it keeps track of each session and you can add a note.
There are many more apps out there, but I look for the simple and easy ones, so that I’m not loosing valuable practice time looking at the app.
8. Reward yourself
Because you deserve it! After I reached 40 days using the guidance of Kara-Leah Grant’s book that I mentioned above, my reward to myself was booking myself in to do a reiki level one course and I loved every second!
I hope you find some of my suggestions helpful! The final suggestion I will leave you with is the most simple and most helpful for me… because JOY allows everything to flow.
Enjoy your practice!
Karen is a qualified Hatha yoga teacher and registered with Yoga Australia. Karen teaches small sized Hatha, gentle and pre-natal yoga classes in Lilydale, Melbourne and loves to share yoga with her students.
Her teacher Glenda Gooding was trained by Margrit Segesman who formed the Gita linage of Yoga in Melbourne and she completed her diploma of yoga teaching in September 2011.
Karen completed the Bliss-Baby teacher training course in January 2013 for Pre & Post-natal yoga.
Karen has also recently been studying “Yoga for self-regulation and trauma” and is furthering her studies of holistic anatomy.
"I am happy to say that I will always be a student of yoga – there is always something to learn, and I love learning. I believe that inspiration spreads out like the countless stars in the night sky.” – Karen