Feeling like you’re ready to take your practice to the next level--at home?
Once you’ve tasted the nectar of yoga’s richness, this next step to a home yoga practice is only natural. But it often becomes the intention that is eternally stuck on the To-Do list: get thy yoga toes to the mat, in the sanctuary of home, and dive into a personal practice.
You already know how powerful the inner stillness is when you make the trek to the studio a few times a week, so imagine the depth possible when you touch that space without having to leave the house!
There is so much potential for exploring your own personal expression of yoga when you remove all distractions and allow your own inspiration to be the guide. Seasoned yogi or Down Dog newbie, setting the intention and tuning in is the first step to taking your practice deeper and to a space of more profound opening.
These 5 elements are often overlooked but when applied well, will make for a smooth start.
1. The practice begins before you touch the mat.
Start by making the time and physical space: turn off the phone, choose a good time of day (when you aren’t rushed or distracted, etc.), kick the kids out, and create an atmosphere of prayer and soft focus.
If you feel like it, put on some soft music to slow you down and bring you into the yoga atmosphere.
2. Take a deep breath and sit down.
It seems overly simple (and obvious), but chances are, just taking the first inhale on your mat will awaken in your heart the knowing of how to rest into the zone that is yoga.
Set your intention, establish the rhythm of breath that will guide the flow of the practice, and turn your attention inward. Sit silently for at least 5 minutes before your first Uttanasana to allow yourself a moment to slowly meet that inner still-point.
3. Channel your favorite yoga teacher.
So she/he always starts the class with a certain invocation or a certain series of postures? Start there. Begin at the beginning.
Show up for the journey without any attachment to what it will look like along the way, and let your inner knowing guide you. Your teacher leads from her/his own experience of the practice, so let your experience take the lead.
4. Let stillness guide your sequence.
Hips feeling tight? Back feeling sore? Hamstrings need some attention? Don’t worry about stringing together complex sequences, just focus on starting slowly and letting the call of your body lead the flow. Practice finding the point of stillness and presence as the postures unfold.
This asana is all that exists in the moment- the next one hasn’t arrived yet, and the previous is already past. Drop in, breathe, and let ease take over.
5. BONUS: Don’t forget Savasana.
It can be tempting to wrap up your home practice with a quick namaste and jump into the next thing, but set your meditation timer and relax. It might be the most important part of your practice, because this is where the inner silence can expand.
If it’s possible, once you om and step off the mat, allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes to stay in silence and let the sweetness of meditation carry into the rest of your day.
Though putting together a satisfying sequence might seem as complex as learning Sanskrit, it only gets easier with time and repetition. Start simple. Start brief. And remember the intention of your practice: to drop into presence, stillness, and inner silence.
Return to your mat again and again, with patience and intention- and soon your home yoga practice, and the inner silence that it brings, will become an organic part of your day.