Maybe you don’t have enough time to get to the yoga studio three times a week. Maybe joining a studio’s too expensive or you simply prefer to move through your flow in the privacy of your own home. Whatever your reason, yoga instructor and author Claudia Cummins believes “working on poses and sequences on your own makes yoga far more personal and impactful.” So here are her seven tips for creating a home yoga practice, courtesy of YogaJournal.com.
1. Less Is More
In the beginning, a little yoga every day is likely to be more manageable than trying to squeeze in a longer session a few times a week. Try setting aside just 10 or 15 minutes in your day for some quiet exploration—perhaps when you first wake up, when you return home from work, or just before you sink into bed at night.
2. Focus on a Single Pose
Each week, pick one pose you’d like to explore more deeply and commit to practicing it at least once a day. Consider choosing an asana your teacher has recently focused on in class, or flip through the pages of an introductory yoga book until you find a pose that speaks to your imagination. Stick with your exploration until you feel as comfortable in your chosen pose as you do in your favorite pair of jeans.
3. Round Out Your Practice With Variety
Focus on a particular group of postures each day. Let your mood and energy level dictate which ones you do and when. On Mondays, for example, you might choose to focus on standing poses; on Tuesdays, you might tackle a few backbends. Wednesdays might be suited for concentrating on twists, Thursdays on forward bends. And Fridays,for many of us, are the perfect day to practice restorative postures.
4. Slip Short Yoga Breaks Into Your Day
Just a few moments of mindfulness sprinkled throughout the day can go a long way toward helping create a more balanced and joyful life. This is easy to do: Focus on your breath while waiting at a stoplight. Practice Tadasana (Mountain Pose) while standing in line at the grocery store. Rise up into Vrksasana (Tree Pose) while brushing your teeth. With a bit of ingenuity, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to work a little yoga into your daily routine.
5. Follow Along
Base your practice on an established sequence of postures shown in your favorite book or video. This can be a source of inspiration as well as an excellent way to learn the fundamentals of sequencing and to develop a well-rounded daily practice.
6. Practice With a Friend
Roll up your sticky mat and head over to a friend’s house. Explore a few asanas together that you’ve learned in class or from a video, or take turns suggesting poses. As you move through the postures, share your questions, observations, and insights. You may find yourselves inspiring each other in ways you hadn’t expected.
7. Look Inward
At the beginning of each session, sit quietly for a few moments and observe your state of being. Ask yourself what sort of practice will bring you into a deeper state of balance. Are you in need of a little heat and invigoration? Include a few Sun Salutations or standing postures in your practice. Looking for a little relaxation? Try some seated postures and restorative poses. Tailor your yoga to the poses and practices that move you in the direction of balance, wisdom, and ease.