For many it is the next step in their yoga journey, for some it has been an unwelcome necessity during this pandemic, but either way, you CAN develop a beautiful home practice that will have many benefits for your wellbeing.
A yoga practice with intent is called Sadhana, and it's powerful, personal and may even change your life! (Your Sadhana is of a spiritual nature and the focus is not only on doing poses to gain physical mastery. It's about what's on the inside as well.)
But there can be many obstacles along the journey, and initially it can be helpful to have some guidance and to know that although there maybe barriers, there are also solutions.
Here's some of what I've heard and may have even said myself sometimes in my 21 years of yoga teaching -
These are just some of the concerns I hear when it comes to home yoga practice.
Here's some practical tips to help you on your home practice journey.
Home practice doesn't necessarily mean you have to recreate what we do in class. Our studio provides a haven for you from the rest of the world, a place where you can just breathe for a while, and take your time reacquainting yourself with... well your Self.
But - If you can find 5, 10 , 20, or 30 minutes somewhere in your day or week to do something that is going to have incredible rewards for your wellbeing, then that is great, and no matter how long it is, it will have some benefits.
The yoga benefits are culminate, so a little done often can have profound effects.
It's also true that a 'Little is better than nothing at all.'
Prioritising your wellbeing is an act of love for self and others around you. Small can be powerful.
Tip - Doing a little of what you love, is better than a lengthy practice that you may need to abandon half way through, it's a great act of self care that benefits those around you also.
Make an affirmation for your short practice that internalises your intent to utilise the time you have for your betterment and the betterment of others. Keep your affirmation short, simple and to the point, as with your practice.
There are many options here, from investing in an online programme such as Yoga for Calm, or trusting in your intuition and muscle memory. Or prepare a successful home practice in advance with a few notes.
Does your regular class/ teacher have a way of opening you up to the process, Or clearing your path to learning and transformation before you begin?
A simple karakia, mantra or setting of intention is a really great way to start your practice.
Tip - start with a karakia or mantra and allow intuition to guide you, or have your practice set out in notes (stick figure drawings of the poses works well ) and ready before you begin.
"Always approach your practice with self love, compassion and the goal of surrendering to what is."
An answer could be to invest in a private class with your teacher, with the aim of developing your own practice.
Or; do a workshop, invest in an online programme, buy books etc, learn a bit more about yoga- and deepen your own ideas and awareness.
That way, you will still be able to stay fully present and surrender when you are in class, and enjoy being lead through a practice , without any pressure to remember what actually went on!
Tip - seperate your class practice time from your home practice, that way you will be able to let go and enjoy being lead in class.
Remember a good teacher wants to make themselves redundant eventually, but by learning more about yoga and developing your practice it doesn't necessarily mean you can no longer attend classes. It simply means you are utilising the practice by deepening your understanding to gain even more benefits, and to ultimately be able to stand on your own two feet, yogically speaking.
You have your own voice within that wants to be listened to too. Remember to stay tuned into that, and your body's responses. A home practice is actually an opportunity to individualise your yoga by deepening your understanding of yoga and yourself, which is what it is all about.
Tip - Trust your intuition, use books and online videos or audios to guide you initially, then go it alone in small chunks, listening to the teacher within.
There is no need to compare your space with that of the studio, it is important to remember we are not trying to recreate the studio experience, but create your own one. You are integrating the yoga into your daily life.
That means where ever your life is at, that is the starting point, and that is perfectly imperfect.
We are all practicing as is -where is - with what we have. In yoga terms this is called Santosha or Contentment.
It is a yoga practice in itself.
We are letting go of the egos needs, and developing our be - here- now 'muscle'.
See these things as opportunities to deepen your practice, rather than barriers to your practice.
Tip - Welcome your whānau and pets in too. Keep it simple, do what you can with where you are and the blessings you have. Gratitude can be the key. After all, these are pretty good 'concerns' to have.
Any small space can be enough for a yoga space, you can personalise it by lighting a candle or incense before you begin, it doesn't have to be the same space all the time, outside under a tree can also work. Be Creative in your pursuit of your sadhana ( practice), and nourishment of your own soul.
Think of this as not an either / or situation - you don't have to give up practicing in the studio - unless we are in Lockdown!
Know that online / in studio / on your own/ ALL have their differences and benefits.
Utilising technology or practicing alone may be different at first, but we become more at ease the more we do it, just like yoga.
Tip - create your own atmosphere and find solutions that work for you, accept that it isn't the same as studio practice, but be proud that you are taking responsibility for your wellbeing and self care. Think of it as 'topping up the tank' on a regular basis, you may even be surprised by how much better your studio classes become too!
It happens! consider these things - your TIMING and your BOUNDARIES.
Pick a time to practice when there are likely to be less interruptions, and if need be, ensure the needs of those who most often interrupt you have been met before you begin.
Prepare yourself and others and then accept that things may still arise, so let go of the need to control every little aspect of your practice. This is REAL LIFE, you are not a yogi in a cave on a mountain top.
Tip - Look at setting a healthy boundary around your practice time. Know that practice is important to your overall health and wellbeing - and this impacts on your whānau and relationships. Everyone benefits when you are less stressed!
See your home practice as an ongoing journey of discovery - and complimentary to a yoga studio class. And an important opportunity to practice self love!
Listen to your body , let go of the ego and always practice within your limits. Let the magic begin!
There are so many things both in the external environment, and internal environment of our own minds, that may stop us from developing a Home Practice.
But with a little thought, preparation, compassion for yourself and a change in mindset, these concerns can be overcome.
You will not regret integrating yoga and meditation into your life, some say - the busier you are, the more you need it!
Tip - Investing in an online programme such as Yoga for Calm with videos you can watch as many times as you like may help you to build confidence that you can build on. Tuning into your own body is key because there is not only one right way to do yoga.
Lastly here are kupu nui - some keys words - to developing your home practice :
How do you feel about home practice? What kupu would you add to your kete when it comes to home practice? Please leave your thoughts or questions.
And please let me know if there's a kaupapa/ theme you would like covered in the blog!
P.S Aroha Nui Yoga for Calm - is a great way to begin to practice at home. The lessons are short or can be added together for a longer practice, it includes a beautiful guided deep relaxation you can do at anytime on its own for really letting go and nurturing yourself.
If you are interested in working with me to develop your personal practice, contact me for more information on private lessons, these can be done in studio or via Zoom .
Here's a glossary of te reo Māori words used
whakairingi - blog
whakairingi rangitaki - blog post
kaupapa - topic, theme, project
kupu - word
kete - basket
whakaharatau - practice
whānau - family
aroha - love and compassion
nui -important, abundant, large