It’s been a week since I’ve posted because I’m right in the middle of finishing up preparations for the Yoga Odyssey. This is the month-long home practice program that I’ve run twice now, and I can’t wait for it to start again January 4! You can sign up here for the Odyssey.
We’re starting to get a critical mass of yogis signed up and ready to practice – very exciting! I wanted to post because the early registration deadline is December 15. Register by December 15 for $30. It’s good to register in advance because you’ll be able to mark your calendar and go through holiday time without this hanging over your head to do. Also, I’ll send you a preparatory email with tips (including optional book, video, and music selections) on December 16, just to get you thinking about setting up your life for a little more yoga practice.
In the spirit of preparation, here’s a little article I wrote about how to practice at home. It might help you roll out your mat today, and definitely will help you as you embark on the Odyssey next month.
KICKSTART YOUR HOME PRACTICE
If you struggle when you try to practice at home, you’re not alone! Many people are daunted by the prospect of creating a yoga experience without a teacher to lead them. I have been leading a month-long self practice course several times per year wherein students have explored how to develop their own practice.
Here are some tips that have come out of those courses:
1) Take a moment to plan the logistics of your practice.
Sometimes this is the biggest impediment. Where in your house will you practice? At what time? Can you free yourself from distractions, like phones ringing and kids/pets needing attention? Sometimes students have needed to talk with their family members to make sure they will have some uninterrupted time to devote to their yoga practice.
2) You only need a minimal amount of time.
Often, we sabotage ourselves by thinking we need to find 60-90 minutes to practice yoga, because that’s how long a yoga class is at a studio. Thankfully, that’s not true! Yoga postures are so potent that you can feel a difference after only about 10 minutes. Commit to 10 minutes of practice for the next week or two, and notice how much better you feel. Within a short amount of time, you’ll likely want to practice for a bit longer. Students have often commented to me that it is easy to find more time when yoga has become part of the daily routine.
3) There are lots of postures to practice.
As for what to practice, draw your inspiration from any number of sources. Many yoga books have suggested sequences to follow. Several websites offer free yoga sequences, such as yogajournal.com. Consider writing down a practice that your teacher led you through in class, or even ask your teacher to write something out for you to practice at home. Many of my students simply practice the traditional morning yoga warmup of Sun Salutations – energizing and easy to remember!
4) Be kind to yourself.
In our home practice program, my students have mentioned over and over how much they needed to hear that any little bit helps. It’s okay if you don’t practice for a day, or even a week! Life happens – the important thing is not to feel so guilty that you never start again. And it’s okay if you only practice for 10 minutes and never longer – I bet you still feel better than when you weren’t practicing at all. Many of us need one space in our lives where we don’t have to be perfect. We don’t even have to be good. Yoga can be that space. Give yourself permission to do nothing but child’s pose for your yoga practice, if that’s what you feel. Cut yourself some slack if you don’t make it onto your mat – can you just close your eyes for a moment at your desk and take a deep, relaxing breath? That’s yoga at work for you as well!
Enjoy your practice – Namaste!