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Yoga is an incredibly powerful practice that anyone can pick up in their home and experience the benefits. With practice you really learn to move at your own pace, listen to your body, and develop a stronger mind/body connection. Start establishing a regular personal practice, and yoga's benefits—including more flexibility, and a powerful, strong mind—will come.
Why practice yoga at home - Self awareness
Yoga is a practice of self-study - The act of consistently being on a yoga mat trains our bodies and minds, and it also illuminates patterns, habits, and routines. When you practice pay attention to where you are you carrying tension in your body and start to become more aware of your mind and emotions that flood through while you are in poses. Consciously send prana (life force energy) throughout your body with each breath, especially to areas where you feel any constriction. This simple practice will allow you to be more present with your practice and everything around you.
Self-care - Self-care is so important in this day and age of busy lives where you may feel there is not enough time to care for yourself. First, this is a nice time to remember that the present moment is eternal! Next, set aside time to give yourself more self-nurturance. Carving out time and space in your day allows us to recharge and refocus. These essential moments allow ample time to release charged emotions and create your future interactions with others more genuine and positive. Taking care of yourself is what enables you to take care of those around you. It starts within.
Body appreciation - Your body is yours. And your practice does not need to look a certain way—it’s about how it feels. When we practice yoga at home, it gives us greater opportunity to look inward at our own bodies with compassion. It’s okay to lose your balance, and it’s okay to forward roll out of your headstand. What matters is that you’re learning how to honor your body just as it is, however it is. Focus on the function of the pose, and let the resulting form come in whatever feels right for your body. This practice will lead you to develop a felt-sense of each asana, creating a truly unique experience tailored to you!
How to develop a home practice
Create space - Find a space in your home where you can leave your yoga mat rolled out. Leave a pillow or blanket on your mat for meditation. These simple tasks create a sanctuary and safe space dedicated to your practice.
Focus on an intention - Sit down and take the time to notice what is present for you. How does your body feel? What emotions are heightened? What do you need? Create an affirmation that supports your intention. Some examples might be: I am present, I am enough, or I am courageous.
Practice poses you enjoy - Choose five poses that you enjoy and practice them. The expectation of a full practice may be overwhelming at first, so recognize and acknowledge that it doesn’t need to be perfect. A simple home practice might be: child’s pose, downward dog, warrior one, supine twist, savasana. Focus on your breath, and movement as mediation. Be easy with yourself.
Listen to your body - Honor your body by responding to its needs. Each day your practice may be different. One day your practice may be savasana and meditation, and the next day may be sun salutations. Remember your practice doesn’t need to look or be a certain way.
Give yourself time - Develop your home practice with patience. Start with small personal time goals of ten minutes, twenty minutes, forty minutes, and maybe eventually 60 minutes. If you miss a day, don’t worry about it, there is no need to judge or criticize yourself. Respect the time that you have committed to self-care and practice gratitude for all the moments on your mat.
The beauty of a home yoga practice is that it is versatile and independent. Yoga practice has the power to ebbed and flow, but keep coming back to and create your space on your mat, your body will thank you!