How To Sustain A Home Yoga Practice Table of Contents
How To Sustain A Home Yoga Practice is a series consisting of 3 parts.
The beauty of yoga is it is a practice that moves with you your whole life. Always walk on to your mat with an open mind, accepting how you feel in that moment and working from that place, letting go of judgment and expectations.
Set aside time to give to your yoga, especially if you are developing a home practice. Make this movement and meditation a priority in your life, and you will find that it is something that over time you will be able to more easily sustain.
Step Into Your Space
Think of your practice as your “yoga space.” This is the time, place and presence you need when you step onto your mat to practice. Every time you are getting ready to start your practice, think about what it means to enter your yoga space.
We have discussed the process of clearing distractions to make literal and psychological room for your practice, and the commitment to scheduling and reflecting upon your practice sessions.
Think about your yoga space when you are putting on your yoga clothes, pinning back your hair, filling your water bottle and laying out your mat. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to take time to be in this space—a place of peace and strength which is all your own.
Create A Time Of Presence
Set a timer, or used a video or audio session that is a designated time. Once the timing has been arranged, you no longer have to think about how long you have been practicing or how long until the session is completed. All you have to think about is being present in your body in every moment and through every movement.
If you do not have visual or audio cues, which can be very helpful, just try to incorporate what you know, and always try to add variations and challenges to your practice so that your yoga continues to evolve. Be mindful of your present state, and do not try to push past physical and emotional blocks—injuries and stress should be met with compassion, not painful judgement.
We want to guide you with a few general pose identifications, with their Sanskrit names as well. Your study of yoga can be life-long, so feel overwhelmed if you are not very familiar with the postures. Yoga Journal is an in-depth source for information on yoga and on the large range of poses, or asanas.
Explore Your Poses
Begin your practice with a calming or meditative posture, such as Child’s Pose (Bālāsana), Auspicious Pose (Sukhāsana), or Tree Pose (Vṛkṣāsana). Settle into your body and observe how you are feeling. Begin to notice your breathing here, and use your inhale and your exhale to guide you in moving your body throughout your practice.
You can slowly work your way into moving salutations by moving into a Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana), and gently peddling out your feet to slowly find length in your shoulders, back and legs. Slowly walk your feet up to your hands and stand in a Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Jānuśīrṣāsana). Begin to lift your torso and making your way into Mountain Pose (Tāḍāsana), with your hands reaching above your head and your torso supported with a strong core. Repeat this series of postures, or asanas, several times. You can also add a Plank Pose (Daṇḍāsana) and a Push-Up Pose (Caturaṅga Daṇḍāsana) to work your arm and shoulder strength.
There are so many poses that you can begin to work into your practice, and every day you can work with different postures, depending on what you want to focus on. Build balance and strength with the Warrior Pose series (Vīrabhadrāsana), or focus on alignment and balance with Triangle Pose (Trikoṇāsana) and Half-Moon Pose (Ardha Candrāsana).
Hip-opening poses, such as Pigeon Pose (Kapotāsana) can also be explored, as well as heart-opening postures, including Fish Pose (Matsyāsana) and Camel Pose (Uṣṭhāsana).
Inversions, such as Handstand Pose (Adho Mukha Vṛkṣāsana) can be explored as well, but you should try to practice with a teacher to learn how to get into inversions properly.
You will want to end your practice with some spinal twisting to find realignment in your spine, so sit or lay on your mat and do a Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrāsana). Corpse Pose (Śavāsana) is the final relaxation pose. This is the time when you soak in all the benefits of your practice.
There are so many more poses than we have listed here, but you should realize how accessible they all are, especially if you develop a foundation for your practice with a few sessions of guided instruction. It is good to pair a home practice with an occasional studio practice, since yoga instructors can adjust your posture alignments and teach you new poses or ways of approaching them.