Even though yoga lends itself so well to an ‘anytime, anywhere approach’, it sure is hard to set up a home practice.
I’ve been trying for more than 10 years and only recently managed to carve out at least 3 hours a week for at-home yoga.
One of the main reasons for this little success is the fact that I started my 200hr yoga teacher training (YTT) course in August. Apart from having to practice a certain number of hours per week, I was also given specific poses to work on improving.
While joining a yoga class is great for getting into a delicious flow, an at-home practice is the perfect way to get better at things you’re not that good at. Yet.
Being committed to arriving on your mat in your own space can also save you a lot of money when studio/gym costs are hard to scrape together. Which – let’s face it – is a reality for many of us.
So, if you’ve also been struggling to get a yoga practice going at home, here are a few things that helped me set mine up:
Create a space
When you live in a 43m² flat, as I do, space is an extremely rare commodity. I mean, I don’t even have a balcony!
Even so, I’ve learned which pieces of furniture to scootch aside and how to place my mat at just the right angle. So, now when yoga time hits, I spend only a few seconds on getting the area ready.
Do keep in mind that – with a dynamic yoga practice – your spatial needs might change from time to time. For example, I’m currently working on head- and handstands, so have had to clear a wall for support. If you’re sharing your space with a partner or housemate, you may need to get their go-ahead for any big moves. Or not. I don’t know – it’s up to you.
You can also make your space a little more inviting with a few simple extra touches. I love diffusing energising essential oils (lemongrass and peppermint are my favourites right now) and selecting a suitable playlist. If I practice in the evening, it gets extra lit with a candle or two (sorry, not sorry).
Plants are also a wonderful way to bring some life to your yoga space. If your home is currently devoid of greenery, check out these four houseplants that even you can keep alive!
Find teachers you like on YouTube
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in trying to get my home yoga practice off the ground is establishing a sequence of poses.
When you consider that sequencing classes is one of the main focuses of our 200hr teacher training course, this hardly comes as a surprise. It takes a lot of time, effort and practice to create a satisfying flow.
Lucky for us, there’s YouTube!
My favourite online teacher by far is Adriene Mischler from Yoga with Adriene. She creates super fun and accessible classes according to themes and releases a new one each week. The latest one is Yoga for Writers – how very appropriate!
Other YouTube classes I’ve enjoyed doing include:
Wellness Connection (this is where I’m doing my YTT. Catherine shares loads of advice, inspiration and tips via Instagram)
Workshop poses you struggle with
And I don’t necessarily mean super advanced poses. Getting the basics right first can make a huge difference to your practice. Downward dog, chaturanga and prasarita are poses that feature in most yoga classes, but how confident are you that you’re doing them right (i.e. that you aren’t going to end up injuring yourself)?
Make a list of 3 – 5 commonplace poses you struggle with and spend time working on them. This is one of the best things about practicing yoga at home – you can do whatever the heck you want when you want.
Of course, it would be useful to get input and guidance from a qualified teacher. If you don’t go to a studio or know of any teachers who can help you, check out The Om Revolution. They offer private lessons in the comfort of your own home. Just keep in mind that these do come with a price tag, but it might be worth investing in one or two sessions to get you on the right track.
The poses I’m currently workshopping are:
- Chaturanga – to improve my arm strength
- Pyramid – to help increase my hamstring flexibility and practice keeping my spine straight
- Headless headstand – going into YTT I couldn’t do a single inversion, now I can kick up against a wall pretty easily. From here, it’s to balance in the middle of my mat.
- Handstand – this is a level up from the headless headstand
This might sound weirdly vain, but it’s so not! Recording yourself doing specific poses can tell you a lot about what you’re getting right and what you need to fix. Which is obviously super important.
I’ve been recording myself trying to do handstands and it really helps me position myself better, put more energy in kicking up and even getting over my inversion fears by seeing that it’s really not so scary.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Finally, if you’re not having fun in your home yoga practice, you’re not going to want to return to it.
Approach your sessions with light-hearted curiosity and be kind to your body.
It’s just yoga, after all!