If you have been taking yoga classes and are familiar with most postures and flows, adding home practice to your weekly routine is easy and beneficial. You can focus on your body’s specific needs. You can work at your own pace, taking time to work through areas of your body that need the most attention. Best of all, your practice fits into your schedule – you can even get in a quick session of 15 to 20 minutes, or take a break to do just a single posture. You’ll get the most out of your home yoga practice if you take time to consider these factors.
You can work at your own pace, taking time to work through areas of your body where you need more time.
Choose your space. Set up an area of your house or yard that is away from distractions like children, spouses, pets, computers, etc, and preferably not a space you associate with work, like your home office. A small corner of your bedroom or a spare room can work well. Decorate the space simply in a way that feels nourishing to you – for example, add a few plants or a wall hanging on which you can focus your eyes.
Choose your intention. Is your intention to relax your body with a soft practice, or invigorate your body with a more rigorous practice, or a little of both? Do you want to work most on flexibility postures or strength postures?
Choose specifics. Do you want to work on opening your hips? Do your shoulders feel tight today? Decide specifically which areas of your body you want to pay attention to in your practice.
Choose postures. Pick postures that address the areas you are intending to work, such as half pigeon and runner’s lunge to open the hips, or chest expansion and supported fish to open the shoulders. The postures that are the most difficult for you in a group practice, the postures that make you inwardly groan when you hear the teacher announce them, are postures that would be great to add to your home practice. The postures that are the most difficult for your strength or flexibility are actually the postures you need the most, and you should do them more often.
Order the postures. Sequence the postures you have chosen from easiest to more difficult to let your body gradually move into its full range of motion. If you are doing a combination of standing and seated postures, do the standing postures first to warm the body, then you will be better prepared for the flexibility of the seated postures. If you plan to do splits (hanumanasana), for instance, they shouldn’t be your first posture! First do postures that work the muscles up to it, like pyramid pose and standing forward bend for the hamstrings, low lunge and half frog for the hip flexors.
Write down the sequence. It is helpful to write a brief outline of the sequence you have planned, so that when you are doing the postures you can stay in a flow without thinking about what you had wanted to do next.
Don’t skip savasana. The resting pose is very important even after a short practice. Savasana allows your body to rest and absorb the benefits of your practice, and it is also a meditation for your mind. Take a few minutes at the end of the practice and before you start your busy day.
Ask for help. If you are new to yoga or don’t feel comfortable designing a sequence for yourself, take a private lesson with a qualified teacher. A well-trained teacher can help you plan a home practice that focuses on your needs and show you the safe alignment in each posture before you take the practice home. Have the instructor take pictures of you in each posture to help you remember the alignment.
Do you have tips for practicing yoga at home? Share them in Comments so we can all learn from each other.