Yoga isn’t canceled.
We may be on quarantine right now, but yoga isn’t canceled.
While your favorite yoga studio might be temporarily closed due to Covid-19, you can still find ways to keep up with your practice.
One of the beautiful things about yoga is that you can access it anywhere, anytime. All you need is your body and your breath.
That said, practicing at home brings up certain challenges, namely distractions: the dog keeps coming up to smell your energy, your family members are making a ruckus, you can’t stop thinking about your to-do list, etc.
Distractions are obstacles, and obstacles present lessons. Let’s see how we can work through these obstacles to build a dedicated yoga practice right from the comfort – and at times discomfort – of your home.
Below you’ll find some tips, tools, and motivators to help you develop a regular yoga practice at home.
A quick guide to your home yoga practice
Here are some tips to help you to build a personal yoga practice at home.
Create your space.
Create a welcoming practice space that mirrors the way you want to feel: Calm. Relaxed. Energized. Peaceful. What this space is for you may be very different than what it is for me or other yogis. Some people like a minimalist feel with limited accessories and neutral colors. Others enjoy practicing around plants for a dose of nature therapy. Tapestries and vibrant colors can also serve your creative Self. No matter how you decide to decorate, I recommend keeping your space clean and tidy, devoid of distractions.
Get on your mat.
Often, getting on your mat is the hardest part of your entire practice. Instead of saying “I’m going to practice for a full hour,” or “I’m going to rock my Chaturanga today,” how about simply setting an intention to get on your yoga mat? Nothing more, nothing less. No expectations. Just get there. And be there.
Once you’re on your mat, guide yourself into the mindset for practice. There are tools to help you do this. You can explore playing a singing bowl, burning sage or palo santo, holding a healing crystal, or simply lying on your back, closing your eyes and taking a few deep cleansing breaths (full breath in through the nose, big sigh out through the mouth).
Music is also a great way to keep you settled and centered as you practice. Tap here to get 2 free yoga playlists for your home practice
Breathing is one of the most effective ways to ground and center yourself. It’s available to you 24/7, and it’s totally free. Notice your breath and work with it, whether that means powerful Ujjayi pranayama or calming alternate nostril breathing. If you have no idea what either of those mean, that’s okay. Just start breathing in and out through your nose. Work towards matching the length of your inhales to the length of your exhales. Equal part breathing is a powerful way to find balance in the body and mind.
Set an intention.
While this isn’t mandatory, intention setting is a helpful way to keep you focused and motivated throughout your practice. An intention is something you can come back to any time your mind starts wandering, and it can serve as a Drishti, or focal point, for your practice. Your intention can be something as simple as “I am practicing yoga right now,” or “I am present.” It can also be an expression of gratitude, an affirmation, a mantra, a dedication to yourself or a loved one, and much more.
There is no right and wrong in yoga. There is what feels good and what doesn’t serve you. Notice what feels great in your body, breathe through any uncomfortable sensations, (physical or emotional), and always back away from pain. Your movements can be slow and gentle, or you can flow one breath to one movement. It’s all up to you, and it will likely change depending on how you’re showing up that day.
Treat yourself to Savasana.
Whether you start in this pose and never leave it (yes, that’s still yoga), or if you flow through a vigorous practice, gift yourself a few minutes of final resting pose (Savasana) at the end of your practice. This restorative shape will help you reset your body — and your mind.
Take a moment to express some gratitude to yourself for showing up for your practice. Self-care is a catalyst for loving yourself, which will have a positive effect on every aspect of your life.
Seal your practice.
Gently rise from Savasana, and find an easy seat. Close your eyes, and take a few moments to close off your practice. Here you might want to practice a mudra, or gesture. A popular option is Anjali mudra, hands at heart center. Gently bow your chin in gratitude for your practice. Perhaps chant Om (the sound of the Universe), and if it feels right, say “Namaste.”
The light within me honors and sees the light within you. When I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you, we are truly one.
Now you have a great starting point for building your home yoga practice. Please keep in mind that these are all suggestions. You can modify your practice to be exactly what you need it to be for you.
Still not so sure about practicing solo?
If you’re apprehensive about practicing alone and creating your own sequences, there is nothing wrong with that. The goods news is there’s SO MUCH ONLINE YOGA available right now. Now more than ever, yogis are sharing their passion on the world wide web. Click here to view my online schedule and practice with me at an upcoming virtual yoga class.
- Have you practiced yoga at home before?
- What challenges did you face?
- What tips do you have for other yogis reading this blog?
Drop a comment below!