Creating a Home Practice

Once you start carving out time and space for yourself outside of the yoga studio is when the real "yoga" kicks in. Don't get me wrong - there is something so magical and powerful about attending a class in person but when you are able to commit to a dedicated practice when there is no one telling you what to do, that is when you have started the real exploration within. You start to learn more about your Self, your body, your boundaries, your mind, your soul than you ever thought you would ever know. Deepening your yoga practice might sound scary but if you are ready, it's there waiting for you to tap into this wonderful place of exhilarating liberation!

Here are some tips that I feel helped me when cultivating a home practice:

1. CREATING A SACRED SPACE

You do not need to have a special room dedicated to your practice and meditation but you definitely need to find a little niche in your home that you feel drawn to that you could clear out and roll out your mat. For me, my pets just looooove to be around me on my mat which can be sweet but very distracting so try to find a place where you don't have your dog licking your face the whole time. :) I prefer to have some visual objects in my sacred space to help bring good vibes. Some objects that you might find peaceful could be a plant, crystals, rocks, photo of someone you like to dedicate your practice to or a symbol of your faith. Think of this as an "alter" - not to worship false idols or any nonsense like that. Just objects that help remind you of why you are there in the first place and that bring a sense of home and peace for you to stay inspired. Also, I feel that this sacred place needs to be kept clean and free of debris. When the debris builds up, it makes it less inviting and respected. Practice Saucha in your space. Saucha means cleanliness of body, mind, spirit and surroundings, all helping to direct us towards a pure and positive life.

2. SET REALISTIC BUT DEDICATED GOALS

A question that I get a lot about home practice is, "how long should I practice for?" My answer is always "there is no formula for home practice, just get on the mat". I practice yoga and meditaiton at my home about 6 days a week. Some days I practice for an hour, some days 20 minutes, some days 5 minutes. I feel that your energy will vary from day to day so just go with the flow. Some days you might feel you need to ignite the inner fire and do several Sun Salutations and other days you just need to be in Child's Pose and that is all you can fathom. THAT IS OK! I truly feel that when you start to set a "regiment" in place for a yoga practice, you will set yourself up for disappointment when time and energy do not allow for what you have planned and then you give up. Start with one day a week for 10 minutes, then work your way up to two days a week and so on. Literally, some days I just get on my mat to take cleansing breaths and release the day and do not practice any asana at all. However, I feel great once I am done! Remember, the days that you are resistant to getting on your mat are probably the days you need it the most!

3. USE ONLINE RESOURCES UNTIL YOU ARE ABLE TO CREATE ON YOUR OWN

There are so many wonderful resources for free yoga online, whether it is on youtube.com or doyogawithme.com. You do not have to be a subscriber to one of the yoga class websites to get a great class online. Explore everything! You will eventually stumble across something that jives with your energy. Books are a great resource as well but I feel in the beginning, it really helps to have a video guiding you through your time on your mat. The cool thing about home practice is that you get to the point where you don't really want to have a video, you just want to practice your "own" class. I feel this is when you start to go deeper. Think of your mat as a blank canvas, your body as the paint and your soul as the artist. Here is a video I created a few months ago for a 15 minute, short and sweet flow:

4. DO WHAT FEELS GOOD FOR YOU AND WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Forget about what other people are doing on Facebook and Instagram - just do what feels good for you. Maybe you know what poses you want to do but the online video you watched didn't do that pose? Then stay a few extra minutes and explore the pose on your own. Listen to your inner guide, follow your intuition. Next time you are in class and remember something that the teacher said or instructed, bring that to your mat. You are the sum of all your teachers - past, present and future. Think of this time as your private lesson from a higher source - how cool is that?! :) The whole point of this is to cultivate peace and liberation within, anything that does not serve that purpose is energy wasted.

5. IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ASANA PRACTICE, INCORPORATE MEDITATION AND PRANAYAMA

Trust me, there will be days that you cannot imagine doing a freakin' Chatauranga and the thought of it might make you want to run far away from your mat! But the good news is, you don't have to do it! :) Meditation and Pranayama are practices that you might feel more comfortable with a guide and that is totally understandable. There are some awesome videos online that teach this very topic. They don't call it "practice" for nothing! Again, practice realistic goals - maybe you explore a 5 minute meditation on following the breath and then pour your heart out on your mat in Child's pose. To me, that is a damn good practice. Follow the vibe of your energy and listen to your heart.

Namaste, Kim

:)