The benefits of yoga – everything from reducing anxiety to giving you a healthy heart – have been widely publicised and many of us have tried it at least once. But with high studio prices, busy lifestyles and the inaccessibility of yoga for some communities deterring many from practicing regularly, maybe it’s time we promote the joys of having a home practice. Here are a few steps to get you started on your journey.
- Buy a mat! It seems obvious but buying a mat and laying it out somewhere you’ll see it every day acts as a great motivator to kick off and continue your home practice. There are tons of affordable but great quality mats available on the market. My personal favourites are these bright sticky mats from Yoga Matters and these warrior mats from YogaMad. If you’re looking for a more playful mat, these beautiful pieces from Form can transport you to snow capped mountains or a tropical paradise. See, aren’t you excited about your home practice already?!
- Book yourself out. When we make plans with others, we’re always so committed to seeing them through, and feel terrible when we flake out. When we book classes at a gym or studio, again we feel obliged to show up (and in many cases, our bank balance takes the hit if we don’t). But when it comes to plans we’ve made with ourselves, for some reason, we move them to the bottom of the pile, willingly cancelling on ourselves for others time and time again. A great way to counteract this is to actually book yourself out. Make an event or meeting in your calendar, with a reminder 15 minutes before. This instantly adds an importance and formality to our home practice, meaning we’re less likely to bump it for other plans.
- Start small. Following on from point 2, going from 0 hours of home practice straight to an hour a day might not be the best method. You’re more likely to stick at it if you ease yourself in rather than overwhelming yourself. Why not start with 15 minutes a couple of times a week? And then once that becomes a routine, you can slowly start to increase the time / frequency, and before you know it you’ll be hashtagging #yogaeverydamnday 🧘🏾♀️
- Seek guidance. Guiding your own yoga practice can be hard – even for the most experiences yoga teachers. There’s a wealth of resources to help you when you start your home practice – use them! There are lots of classes available on YouTube (Yoga with Adriene, anybody?), and dedicated subscriptions like Gaia and Movement for Modern Life give you access to a wealth of classes by renowned teachers.
- Go offline. While building up a home practice using videos is a great way to bring more yoga into your life, the benefit of in person classes cannot be overlooked. From receiving alignment corrections to connecting with fellow yogis, studio and community yoga classes have a lot to offer. Be sure to pepper your home practice with visits to local classes (if you’re doing yoga in London, you can join me every Sunday in Hackney!) and maybe even some workshops and yoga festivals to help you get deeper into your practice, and make some friends along the way!