Building a Home Yoga Practice

yoga practice, home yoga practice, creating a personal practice, yoga at home
Building a Home Yoga Practice

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……

  1. Say to yourself – today I’m going to spend ten minutes doing yoga.  Making the decision to do it is often the difficult bit
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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!
  1. 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!

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Ask an Instructor – Diana Markessinis

Diana Markessinis
Diana Markessinis – Yoga instructor and fine artist

Diana Markessinis is a yoga instructor and fine artist specialising in sculpture.

ask an instructor – 10 questions

• the very first yoga class you attended?   As a small little lady with my mom we walked to an old Victorian house in our neighborhood of Wilmington Delaware. I remember the sound of the pocket door sliding shut, deep breathing, and quiet organized movement in a full room of ladies.

• what is it about yoga that inspires you?   The merging of our internal and external worlds, to explore and travel our internal world then the outside physical body world…it’s a lovely dance back and forth and eventually they merge and unite creating a one pointed focus, where all else falls away, in that peacefulness I get inspired

• what yoga item(s) could you not be without?  I suppose my blocks, but honestly if they aren’t with me, I find something else, books, buckets, a railing, whatever is available to give me more space!

• your favorite post yoga class snack?  Something juicy and refreshing like fresh veggie or fruit.

• what book would you recommend to a brand new student of yoga?  Depends on that persons interests…Donna Farhi ‘bringing yoga to life’ has a nice overview or for a deeper level ‘the body has its reasons’ by Therese Bertherat

• if you could teach a class anywhere in the world, where would it be?  On the floor of a soft forest on a sunny day.

–  type of class you like to attend when you are not the instructor?  Relaxation classes like Restoratives or Yin, as I practice this at home, but have to keep watch of the time, it’s luxurious to have someone else keeping track.

• favorite thing to do if not doing yoga?  Being outside and creating objects.

• if you weren’t a yoga instructor?  I’m an artist, my love and knowledge of yoga is to make this life fuller for myself and others.

• as a yoga instructor, what do you hope a new student takes away from your class?  To simply feel better then when they arrived. Showing up on our mat is to be a witness to whatever is happening that day, and in theory as that awareness comes through we can better serve ourselves and therefore others.

To find out more about Diana’s yoga schedule and sculpture work visit her website http://www.dianamarkessinis.com

Diana teaches a weekly Yoga Fundamentals class at Inner Space yoga studio in Santa Ana.

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