I know the scenario, you want to practice yoga, but your town doesn’t have a studio, the studio is too pricey for your budget, or you just don’t want to contort your body into vulnerable positions in front of strangers. I get it. I’ve been there, but you don’t have to give up on your curiosity for yoga. You can create a home yoga practice customized to your needs. Rather you have been practicing for years or are just getting started, a home practice can benefit you.
1. Answer a few questions to establish a foundation.
A. Why do I want to practice yoga?
This can only be answered by you. When I first began my yoga journey, I wanted to eliminate the pain and suffering I was experiencing from a variety of ailments. I also wanted to get in better shape, feel more secure in my body, and I’ll admit my ego was pretty stoked about learning those fancy postures. Maybe you have an eager friend that wants you to practice with them, or you heard yoga could help you with whatever ailments you are suffering from. Your “why” may change as you grow your practice, but you will always have a “why”. You may have multiple “whys” and that’s great! Write these down anywhere, a journal, a post-it note, an old receipt, just get it in writing.
B. Who am I practicing yoga for?
You should practice for yourself, not for anyone else. Not your spouse, friend, teacher, family, anyone. You can dedicate your practice to anyone you please, but your practice is your own. YOUR body, YOUR mind, and YOUR spirit. Yours and yours alone.
C. What do I want out of my yoga practice?
Everyone’s practice is different and there are many yoga paths to choose from. My advice is to do what resonates with you. Each yogi believes their path is the best because that is what has worked best for them. Only you will know what works for you by your own experiences. Your experience is gained by stepping on your mat and putting in the work. Do you want to feel more relaxed, gain flexibility and strength, become at peace with yourself, love yourself, get that awesome body that you’ve dreamed of? Write down everything you want out of your practice, realistic or not.
Now that you have written down what you want out of your yoga practice, let’s dive into goal setting! From your list, establish a few goals that are achievable. Be specific about your goals. If you have an asana goal, how are you going to build the strength and flexibility needed to access that posture. If your goal is to have more awareness, how are you going to add mindfulness into your practice and into your day. The more specific and detailed the goal, the easier it will be for you to manifest it. Don’t overwhelm yourself with an extravagant list of goals. Just pick a few and get to work. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said, “Practice practice, and all is coming”.
3. Find a spot in your home to practice
Don’t overthink this. You need a spot big enough for your body to lay down and stand up. Just roll your mat out and go. If your hand grazes the wall it’s all good. If you don’t have a yoga mat yet, that’s ok too, you don’t have to have one. I have practiced without a mat and with towels. Don’t make excuses. The same goes for any special yoga equipment you think you might need. Blocks and straps can be found all around your home, towels, books, a belt, the wall, your friend, use what you have around you. Once you pick your favorite spot to practice, pick a backup spot.
When I started my home practice I was very attached to my spot, if my husband needed to use the room and I couldn’t practice there; I would get upset and miss my practice completely! Allowing my thoughts and emotions to run and ruin the day. Just find another spot, simple as that. You will be glad you did, and those negative feelings you had about not practicing in “your” spot will vanish. I have practiced in my room, in the bathroom with my head right by the toilet, on the balcony, by the pool, in the living room, in the kitchen, where ever I can get my practice in, I do. You can make your yoga spot your own by adding art, photos, books, whatever inspires you to practice; just know that none of that is necessary to practice. All you need is yourself.
4. Set an Intention
Practicing with intention is an important step if you want your practice to bleed off the mat and into your life. An intention is bringing awareness to a quality you wish to bring to the practice and into your life. You want the intention worded as if it already is. Some of my favorite intentions that have helped me along the journey are:
- I am strong
- I am peaceful
- I am patient
- I am grounded
- I am confident and courageous
- I am safe
- I am free from negativity
- I have abundance and prosperity
The more awareness you bring to your intention and your practice, the more you will raise your vibration and inspire your decisions throughout the day, and the people you interact with.
5. Step on your mat!
Let go of any expectations you have about what your yoga practice should be, how it should feel, how it should look, how your breathing should be, let it all go. Be an observer of your practice, and allow what happens to happen without judgement. Each day you step on your mat is a new day. Somedays it will feel great and leave you feeling on top of the world! Other days your body may feel foreign to you, and poses that would normally come easy are completely unavailable to you, which can leave you feeling confused about your practice and about life. This is all part of the practice. Approach it all with non judgement and self love. Always be kind and compassionate to yourself.
You can flow on your own or you can follow along with a video. I started with several options on YouTube:
I also tried a few membership yoga sites with a paid membership you will get more in depth classes :
Pick a practice and teacher that resonates with you. Your practice can be as challenging or as relaxing as you would like. This is YOUR practice. The hardest part is stepping on your mat. What you practice grows stronger. Just do it!