A home yoga practice is a simple ritual. It can be 10 minutes or an hour. It can be soft and soothing, or wild and energizing.
Yoga classes are an excellent entry into yoga. You’ll learn basic poses, get a feel for sequencing, and start to discover what you like and how your body moves.
A home practice is a powerful way of introducing your practice into your real life. The best part is: it actually fits into your real life, and helps to bring more balance, focus, and ease into any day, week, or single moment.
Anyone (yes, anyone) can have a home yoga practice.
Here are 10 signs that you need one.
1. When you wake up in the morning, you feel like you aged 20+ years overnight.
You’re achey, stiff, and sore. You blame your slow walk to the coffee maker on being tired, but really you feel like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz desperate for your oil…
This is, all things considered, pretty normal. While you’re sleeping, your body is (relatively) still for 6 or more hours. You could use a little “oil” in the form of some gentle yoga first thing in the AM to get the joints lubricated, muscles warmed, and energy flowing.
2. You plan to go to a yoga class, but keep missing it week after week.
I know, I know. You put it in your schedule, then end up booking something “more important” over it.
This can happen for so many reasons. Getting ourselves to show up is often the hardest part of any new endeavor. Sometimes it’s scheduling-related. But most times we underestimate the value of rest and relaxation, and prioritize other activities instead.
When you build a home practice you remove most of the obstacles that keep you from showing up. You can adjust the start time and the length. You can grab a snack beforehand. You can make it an event that you want to show up for.
3. When you finally DO make it to yoga class, you feel either a) totally underwhelmed, or b) totally overwhelmed.
It is super frustrating when you rush or reprioritize to get to a yoga class, only to be disappointed by its contents. Bleh.
In your home yoga practice, you’ll move at your own pace, with your own breath. There’s no one around to distract you with their advanced postures or one-handed pushups. There’s no competition. You’ll be inspired by your own body, which is the most radically sexy beautiful way to be inspired.
4. You have an injury (new or old) that limits you in a group yoga class.
This was me for the last 6 months. After my hand injury, I couldn’t do most of the poses taught in a typical group class. I took a break from group classes but increased my home practice, which I could customize and tailor to my own needs and desires.
Group classes are wonderful, but they are not the only way to practice yoga. If you can’t find a group class in your community that jives with your own body + mind’s needs, this is a great opportunity to develop a home practice.
5. You don’t like group classes.
Introverts of the world, unite.
Simply put, you aren’t excited to move, sweat, and chant along with a group of strangers. It’s not your thing. It’s not your scene.
You prefer to fly solo. To go at your own pace. To wear your LL Bean flannels and neon sports bra without having to explain yourself.
6. You have a demanding, hectic work schedule OR….you have little kids.
You have a schedule that can change at any moment. You need to be ready, on standby, for the next conference call or camp pick-up.
Your “free time” exists in small slivers of time between deadlines, school pick-ups, dinner meetings and bath times. You don’t have time to even think about looking at a group class schedule.
Your home practice can ride through your day with you. It can be there in the 5 minutes between appointments, or that glorious golden space we call “naptime.” Your practice is ready when you are — no advance notice required.
7. You love a high-intensity workout, but hate to stretch.
If you don’t know already, I’m going to tell you right now: stretching is essential. Especially if you are doing any kind of high intensity training, running, or weight lifting. A good post-workout stretch can relieve muscle tension, prevent soreness, plus encourage blood flow and muscle repair.
If you hate to stretch because you find it boring, mundane, or too time-consuming, try a simple yoga sequence instead. Sun Salutations are an excellent post-run practice. Reclined and seated poses (like this one) feel fantastic after a high intensity workout. A slow flow vinyasa practice is delicious after any intense exercise.
8. You have a hard time falling — or staying — asleep.
Muscle tension can keep your body from relaxing into sleep. A simple evening yoga practice can help shake out built-up muscle tension and ease you into deeper sleep.
If you tend to get a “second wind” that keeps you up all hours, a yoga practice can help balance your mental energy, calm those bustling brain cells and get you to bed at a decent hour.
9. At the end of the day you feel like you’ve hardly had a moment to yourself.
You know what I’m talking about. You’re working hard traveling, writing, creating, doing all the good beautiful stuff you do. But at the end of the day you realize that you haven’t actually stopped moving since breakfast.
Many of us will reach for our favorite relaxation tools: television, wine, social media. Then — hours later — we step away feeling even more depleted.
Your home practice is a way to truly recharge and rebuild your inner resources. It can balance your burned-out nervous system while reconnecting you back to with your own heart and spirit.
10. You love yoga and want to go deeper.
You love going to yoga classes… and you want more! You want to explore more poses, or you want to practice every day. You want to dive into the more spiritual aspects of the practice.
There’s nothing more spiritual than spending quality time with yourself. In your home practice, you learn to listen deeply to your body. You become your own teacher.
Only after making this list did I realize that I have ALL of these signs, at different times. (Though my biggest motivator for practicing at home is definitely#1!)
Do you have any of these signs? Leave a comment below and tell me which of these signs is really resonating for you right now.
I’ll see you next week with one of my best tips for starting any kind of new habit or practice.
Love and lists,
[photos via unsplash]