5 Tips to Build a Regular Yoga Practice at Home
Every week you go to your yoga class and you love it, you can’t get enough, you walk out of the studio feeling on top of the world and vowing to practice every day so you can keep feeling this good. But by tomorrow, you’re busy, you’ve got things to do, and yoga and all the reasons you love it completely slip from your mind, until you see it on your calendar a week later… Sound like you?
It can be hard to build yoga into your home life, but just 10 minutes a day, every day, is more beneficial than 2 hours in one chunk once a week. So how can you create a regular daily home yoga practice?
Work with your schedule
No one has enough time in the day, so fitting a yoga practice in can seem like an impossible feat, the trick is to allow it to fit seamlessly into a part of your day that rarely varies, such as first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or around something else that is already regular in your day.
Perhaps you’re not able to magic a spare hour, but I guarantee there are points in your day when you could spare 15 minutes.
For example, first thing in the morning. Instead of pressing snooze (5 to 10 minutes) and then checking your phone (5-10 minutes at least), what if you got your day started 15 minutes earlier? You wouldn’t have missed out on any sleep, since you’re awake anyways, and now you have 15 minutes for you to sneak a little yoga into (what to practice in these 15 minutes? Why not try this 15-minute morning yoga practice?). If your morning routine is already jam-packed, maybe you can manage with 15 minutes less sleep, but 15 minutes more yoga?
Not a morning person? Perhaps yoga can fit into your bedtime routine. Or maybe a lunch break. Or perhaps the 15 minutes after you come home from dropping the kids at school and before you start your to-do list.
Perhaps there’s a 15-minute habit you can switch out for 15 minutes of yoga at some point in your day.
Make your practice special
Once you’ve found those precious few minutes to dedicate to your practice you don’t want to waste them. It’s important to make your practice your practice with as few distractions as possible, there are 1440 minutes in a day, see if you can make the few minutes you’ve set aside for your yoga practice time just for you.
This can be as simple as shutting your bedroom door, turning your phone off and rolling out your mat, or perhaps there are a few extra things you want to do to really make your yoga practice, however long you’ve got, feel like a treat. For example, maybe you want to get changed into yoga clothes that you really like (whatever that means to you), play some gentle music, light a candle, burn some incense or go to a particular spot that feels magical for you, whatever you want to do that will make your practice feel less like a chore and more like a gift.
Practising without the guidance of a teacher for the first time can feel really daunting - what poses should I do, how long do I hold a posture for, how do I know if I’m doing it right, what if I forget what to do, and so on and so on…
So just start small.
Think of 5 poses that you like and that feel good in your body, and just stick with those. Create a little sequence out of those 5 poses, even if you don’t think they fit together perfectly, and use the breath to count each pose, that way you are including the breath in your practice and it’s an easy way to keep track of time. A few rounds of the sun salutations is also a great place to start, as this sequence is repetitive and can last for as long or as short as you like, you can include the breath and it stretches out and warms up pretty much the whole body.
And if you’re really not sure about not being guided through a practice, why not follow a video practice? Yoga class videos are a great way of starting and maintaining a regular yoga practice as it means you don’t have to worry about what posture you should be doing next or how long you need to hold it for, and the cue from the teacher in the video means that it’s easier to stop your mind wandering off!
I have a whole library of yoga videos if that’s something you’d be interested in…
Notice the impact
I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to start a new habit, it’s quite easy to find time for it at the beginning, it’s only after a while that it starts to feel like an inconvenience. So now that you’ve built a practice you can enjoy, you’ve got to try to maintain it, that’s why tip number 4 is to take time to reflect on the impact having a regular yoga practice has on your life.
Checking in with how you feel is a key part of yoga anyways, but it’s an even more important part of your personal practice as it can remind you why you make yourself get up earlier than you need to or watch one less episode of your favourite show before bed.
Checking in with how you feel as you close your practice is important for self-awareness and self-regulation, but it’s also helpful to check in with how you feel in general throughout your day to notice how your new daily practice impacts your life in a wider sense.
If you are thinking about building a regular personal practice you already know how beneficial yoga can be, so recognising the benefits of it can really help you stick to your new routine.
Keep your practice inspiring
Speaking of sticking to a routine…
Keeping your practice fresh and interesting can be key to keeping you wanting to come back to it.
While practising the same poses and techniques every day is beneficial for your progress in those areas and stops you from worrying about what to practice, mixing it up a bit can stop your practice from starting to feel dull and uninspiring.
Maybe there’s a new pose you’ve discovered that you want to add in, or a more creative way you can transition between the 5 poses you’ve chosen, or perhaps you want to just hop on the mat and take a moment to connect to what your body actually needs and wants and move intuitively in response to that.
Yoga is meant to be inspiring and creative… so don’t let your practice get dull!
My daily yoga practice is so very special to me, so hopefully, these tips will help you create your own pockets of reflection and self-care outside of your yoga class.
Please share how you maintain your practice outside of class in the comments!