Late fall has arrived, and with a pandemic still going, stress-relief is more needed than ever! But with studios closed, how do you "start yoga" at home?
It's easy! Here are 6 tips to start a juicy and rewarding yoga practice from home that will actually stick.
1. Select and Declutter Your Physical Space
Choose or create an open space that feels calm and cozy to you, and is as free of noise and clutter as possible. Not everyone’s home is like a temple. If “quiet and uncluttered” sounds like a joke to you, just pick any spot that is quieter and has enough space to fit a yoga mat and other essential basic yoga props -- roughly 10 square feet of floorspace.
It’s important to section off a special place for inward focus and self-reflection. If things are crowded, try designating the space by marking it off with other objects. You can also use your yoga mat to establish your space, and then stow it away neatly after finishing your practice. Carving out an established area or corner of the room for yoga will give your body and mind the message that this is a nice place to unwind and focus. If your props are your marker of space, find an attractive way to keep them organized, like as a special basket or organizing shelf. The ritual of taking these out can mark off personal time and space.
2. Dedicate Time for Your Yoga Practice
You will also need to actively make “space” in your calendar. Did you know most people no longer commuting used the extra time for more work? Honestly: YUCK!
We can all find the time for at least some deep breaths and floor stretches. If you are often busy tending to others’ needs, try putting yoga as a meeting on your calendar in “busy” mode, and then show up like you would for any other appointment. Consider this as your most important appointment of the day. This is not selfish! If you need to, just show up for 20 minutes until you get more into it
Remember: more relaxed you will be more effective. Better at being present, planning, and focusing – so in a certain sense yoga saves time. Like a lumberjack chopping with a dull axe, we need to take care of our number one tool – our minds and bodies. Say hello to a happier de-stressed life!
3. Choose Healthy, Non-Toxic Yoga Props
Select a high quality set of high-quality yoga props that you adore and store them neatly. Basic essential starter items include: a yoga mat, support blocks, a yoga strap, and a comfortable blanket (of the sturdy woven kind normally). These are your new trusty tools of the trade, so you owe it to yourself to not skimp on cheap toxic plastic props.
These products are in your space where you breathe, sweat and sleep, hopefully not crumbling or off-gassing toxic chemicals inside your home. Choose items that bring you joy.
4. Be Consistent, and Start with Modest Goals
Listen carefully: yoga is about getting in the flow and persistent repetition that lets you flourish. It’s the antithesis of our go-go world. This is the hardest one for a lot of people. In terms of habit formation, listen to the fitness instructors and meditators:. It’s more important to show up and get on the mat than it is to have a long practice each day, or master advanced poses. Just showing up regularly is key!
Try easing into the habit of a regular practice by committing to a time frame that you find least intimidating! If you are practicing via online video classes, try starting with whatever class length you are most comfortable with: 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour. It is called “practice” for a reason!
5. Shop Around to Find a Teacher You Love
Not all of us are “self-directed”, *ahem*. One of the best things about yoga going online is the ability to easily try a wide variety of styles and teachers to see which ones are the most fun and suitable for you. Shop around and see what moves ya! You will want to pick a great yoga teacher on your wavelength and build up in their style.
Many yoga streaming platforms let you try unlimited styles and hours of classes for about $25/month. For a ‘conscious’ yet modern style, we like Glo yoga. But that’s just one option! Find a community you vibe with and give it a whirl.
Once you pick someone that sparks joy and aligns with your interests, it will be fun to learn basic foundations like breathing techniques and posture alignment. A nice thing to do is to track down any live streaming classes they are doing to show extra support, and feel more connected with your practice group. Stalk hard!
6. Start at the beginning!
Get comfy and go at your own pace! The path to self-mastery is humble repetition, not forcing things. A good lesson in itself! Yoga is meant to meet you where you are. The top reason people drop out of yoga early is due to trying a class that was too hard, or only one style that turned them off. We recommend a low buy in, high-reward class for beginners at first. Don’t try to look cool, just have fun!
Keep it sweet: use modified moves and yoga props whenever you need to, for a juicy full body stretch! That’s the shortest path to getting strong and advanced. Yoga practice should make you feel challenged but refreshed, NEVER torn up or injured.
Overall, an enduring yoga practice is about creating your own joy. Do what makes you feel good and works best for you. Make your practice your own, and most importantly have fun! Like we say, “Do good, Feel Good.”
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