Remember when you had your exams at school. The paper was placed in front of you and you’d have a few moments to organize your pencils, eraser, ruler, calculator or whatever other items you needed. Then you would open the paper, read through it and decide in a moment of panic that you don’t know the answers and then proceed to organize your stuff again.
It’s not dissimilar to starting a home practice. You lay out your mat and stack your blocks. Fold your blanket neatly and roll your yoga strap into a tidy coil. You sit on your mat, take a breath and then say to yourself ‘now what?’ and go back to rearranging your props.
When you come across articles about home practice it often appears to involve a whole heap of organization and commitment to finding the right spot with the right amount of time and at the right time of day but the key to actually building a home practice starts with just doing it.
Simply roll out your mat or just find a space on the floor in a place you feel comfortable in. It might be your spare bedroom, your kitchen, your balcony or your local park. If you need them, place your props close to hand and then do the pose or the handful of poses that you know. Just that. It doesn’t have to be a fancy sequence full of clever flows and interesting series of inversions, twists and standing poses, it just needs to be a pose. One pose repeated on both sides and there begins your home practice.
The biggest obstacle to a home practice is in your head.
Forget the need to reproduce what your favorite instructor or dvd does for an hour and simply step up and start.
It may be only five minutes squeezed in while a kettle boils or thirty minutes snatched in the evening in place of the TV show you would survive without seeing anyway.
If an active, physical practice doesn’t appeal try a relaxing restorative pose. Restorative yoga offers a great deal of positive benefits and when practiced on a daily basis is as beneficial as a full on vinyasa flow sequence.
Here’s a suggestion on how to start……
- Say to yourself – today I’m going to spend ten minutes doing yoga. Making the decision to do it is often the difficult bit
- Find a space or roll out your mat and step on to it. A little effort involved here but don’t overthink it. It will take a minute
- Do a pose you like or can easily remember. Doesn’t have to be sophisticated – mountain pose (tadasana) or childs pose both work. It’s still yoga. There, you’ve done it
- Step off the mat and repeat the next day. Takes will power to commit to the next day but you know you can do it because you just did it!
- When the next day comes say to yourself – today I’m going to spend ten minutes doing yoga. As step 1 and then repeat
The biggest obstacle to a home practice is in your head. You’ll notice that the list starts and ends with the mental commitment and nothing more.
Every journey starts with the first step so make the decision, carve out the time no matter how small, roll out your mat and step on it!