August 24, 2017

For many people, a studio practice is just not possible. Whether the classes conflict with your schedule or it’s out of your budget, sometimes those public classes are just out of reach. But this doesn’t mean that you have to give up your practice: you can do it from the comfort of your own home. An at-home yoga practice doesn’t have to be scary or extravagant. You’re not opening your own studio; you’re just taking some time for yourself, to be quiet, and reflect on your needs.

There are tons of benefits to having an at-home practice, one of them being that you don’t have to completely abandon the studio. You can always supplement a home practice with a couple studio classes a week–it’s a great way to get some inspiration and connect with your yoga community. Even if you are wanting to keep your studio pass but learn a quick 20-minute relaxation sequence you can do before bed, or a nice stretch-based routine for after a run, some tips on how to start a home-practice won’t hurt. So let’s get started.

Be Safe

This should go without saying, but sometimes when we get into our flow (literally) we push ourselves a little too hard. When you’re at home, there may not be anyone else around, and surely you’re not asking them to supervise your practice. And, unless you yourself are a yoga teacher, there isn’t a teacher there to cue you into the poses. When doing yoga at home there are two things you want to make sure you do to stay safe:

  1. Listen to your body. Your body is your biggest advocate and ally when it comes to physical movement. So listen to it. If you’re feeling extra tight in your hamstrings, don’t push yourself into the splits; work on half splits instead to help loosen up the muscles along the back of your leg. Your body will also tell you what kind of practice it needs from day-to-day. Maybe you went for a long bike ride and need a deep stretch or restorative sequence to recuperate. Or you could have been sitting all day at work and need to get your blood flowing so you’re looking for a vinyasa flow. Listen and you will learn what you need.
  2. Second, you want to make sure you’re working at your level. This goes hand-in-hand with listening to your body, but deserves it’s own explanation. Like most things in life, in a yoga practice we work our way up to more challenging poses, and work with what we have. For example, if you have a tight chest, you will likely hurt yourself if you try to push up into full wheel. Rather than jeopardizing your health for a possible two seconds of photo-worthy posture, work with bridge variations to open your chest and shoulders. Be humbled, rather than embarassed about where you’re starting from.

Educate Yourself

Yoga always has something new to teach us, even if it’s an old lesson being rephrased by someone new, in an inventive way. Just because you’re doing your practice from home doesn’t mean you don’t have any teachers to learn from. There are tons of online (and offline) resources to dive into.

  1. Read! There are endless books out there on yoga and yogic philosophy that will teach you plenty about the practice, and help you grow your practice. Check out your local library or used book store if you’re on a budget. Lots of yoga studios have book swaps or small libraries that you can borrow from; even if you’re not a student there, you can always ask to borrow something. Online blogs and magazines are another great spot for learning about yoga. You’ve already made your way to theInner Fire Journal, so you’re on the right track here! A simple Google search for what you’re looking for should turn you in the right direction.
  2. Engage! One of the best ways to stay on budget and practice at home is to subscribe for online classes.YogaGlo andGaia both have libraries of classes of all styles, levels and lengths so you can choose what you need, when you need it. Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga in New York, adds free videosto her YouTube channel regularly, and is another bank of knowledge. There are also tons of blog posts out there that list sequences and lists of poses you can try out. Check out our Journal for some of these.

Have Fun

This time is all about you, so embrace it. If your house is full of people, try and find a quiet place, or go to a nearby park or your patio for some more privacy. Put on some music and settle in. If you have a hard time finding the time or the motivation to practice at home, try adding it to your schedule. When you see it being part of your day, you’ll realize it’s just as important for you to take this time as it is to make dinner or have that meeting with a new client. You are worth this practice, the joy it brings, and benefits that come along with it. Have some fun and don’t be too hard on yourself!