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Ask a Yogi: Tips for Establishing a Home Yoga Practice

Ask a Yogi

Ask and you shall receive!

You’ve practiced with them on YogaGlo. You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? Ask a Yogi is back so you can learn more about our teachers by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a question you’d like to “Ask a Yogi” let us know in the comments and we’ll add your questions to the list.

What are your tips for establishing a home yoga practice?

Alex van Frank: I’ve found that the best way to establish a home practice is to make it automatic, fun, and sneaky. One of the first things I do in the morning are a few whole body poses before getting out of bed (like wind releasing pose, twists). Fun can come in when you incorporate children and/or pets -just do a few rounds of happy baby pose with them around and it turns into a love fest! (I dare you to try it now). Sneakiness is also very helpful for bringing yoga into a busy life. Every time I have to take my laundry out (of the front loading machine) I take that opportunity to go into half moon pose. I’ve also been known to do tree pose while waiting at stores.

Amy Ippoliti: 1. Find a dedicated space in your home 2. If you have the luxury, leave your mat out so it’s always open and ready for practice 3. Start out using a 10 minute timer and let yourself explore for those 10 minutes until you start craving more.

Chris Chapple: Create a space that you value as your Yoga Space. It need not be used exclusively for Yoga. Begin with breathing. Keep breathing. End with breathing. Manage your expectations. Set small goals and appreciate your accomplishments. Move on.

Claire Missingham: My main tips for establishing a home practice are that you create a schedule for yourself. For instance, I have a board in my yoga room that says: Mondays: Iyengar Standing poses, Tuesdays: Arm Balances and 3rd Series, Weds: 1st Series and hip openers, Thursday: 2nd series and backbends, Friday: Restoratives and Reading, Saturday: Vinyasa Flow and Sunday: Rest

So if you establish a routine, set the alarm and leave your yoga clothes, mat etc ready you are more likely to set up a regular self-practice.

Claudine Lafond: Simply dedicate time every day to be on your mat. Prioritize this just like you would, catching up with a friend or scheduling a meeting. Also don’t be attached to how long or how vigorous your practice will be. Just be diligent and consistent.

David Wagner: The most important thing is to make it really enjoyable.When you’re practicing in a class, the studio or teacher sets the vibe. At home, you have set your own vibe, so make it a delicious one!  This is especially true with a home meditation practice. Create a really cozy beautiful seat for yourself, wear clothes you feel great in, make yourself your favorite tea and drink it from your favorite mug. Practice your favorite techniques. Make your practice so enjoyable you can’t wait to get back to it.

Felicia Tomasko: Do everything you can to make it easy for yourself. Have a mat ready. Turn your phone off during practice (or hide it somewhere). Find an accountability buddy and even if you’re not in the same place, set times to practice. Even text them to let them know that you’ve followed through! My sister and I will text each other and even share what we are practicing or what Yogaglo classes we are utilizing.

Kia Miller: Pick a time of day that you can be consistent with. Pick an amount of time that can be fitted into your schedule. Start with a short practice and slowly build it up if desired. Be consistent, as this is the greatest key to success. Begin with a practice that you love as then you will look forward to it.

Noah Maze: Create a commit to a routine. Regularity helps. Don’t overcommit yourself, but take a month, or a week, and commit to a consistent time and place to practice. If it you only have five or ten minutes per day. At the end of that time, reflect on your experiences and the benefits of consistent yogic practice and consider the next period of time and what you want to commit to. Spend a few minutes in quiet meditation each day. Spend a few minutes practicing asana each day. Build from there.

Sally Kempton:  If possible, have a space where you regularly practice. The more you cultivate a practice space, the easier it is to practice regularly. I suggest creating a simple alter that can be a focal point of your practice space. The alter represents your intention to practice. If your available space is small, or if you’re practicing in your living room or bedroom, consider having a portable alter that you set up and take down just as you do your mat.

  • Find a regular time to practice—even if its just for 15-20 minutes at a time. Then, stick to it. One key to early morning practice is to roll out of bed and right onto the mat!  The less of a gap you leave between getting out of bed and getting onto the mat, the better your chances of avoiding the urge to check your emails.
  • At the beginning, make a decision that you’ll practice daily for 7 days. Extend that to 14, then to 21. Once you’ve practiced for 21 straight days, you’ll have created a habit, and then your body will begin nudging you to practice!
  • Once you’ve found a sequence that you are comfortable with, feel free to experiment. Try alternating asana with meditation, or even a bit of tai chi movement or dance. Experiment with different asanas and even different styles. Practice with different bhavas, or spiritual attitudes. For instance, one day you might focus purely on the sensations in your body. Another day, you might use a visualization or a counted breath, a mantra, or try adding an affirmation (“My body is made of light!”).  In short, be creative with  your practice, so that it stays interesting for yourself.
  • Remember, the perfect is the enemy of the good.  Even a few minutes of  practice will energize you. So don’t hesitate to do just a little if you don’t feel you have time to do a lot.
  • Start your practice with a few minutes of reading from a spiritual teacher who inspires you, a sutra from the Yogasutra or the Bhagavad Gita, the poetry of Rumi, or another inspiring source.
  • Finally, recognize that there will be times when you have to coax or even trick yourself  into getting to the mat. Remember, you can always give yourself just 5 minutes.  Or, offer yourself a reward  for after practice. Play cool music. On a day when you are feeling particularly distracted, you can even give yourself permission to practice in front of the TV.

Stephanie Snyder : Create a space where you can consistently practice. It doesn’t have to be fancy and it can be a pop-up situation. You can either carve out a permanent space in your home or if you are space challenged try to create the same environment overtime. For instance- you lay your mat down and you place the same few sacred things (candle, picture of loved ones, affirmation cards, mala- whatever is special to you) in force of or next to you each time. Its also great to let your hair down and allow the practice to be whatever it needs to be that day. Sometimes restorative, sometimes challenging, sometimes short and other days longer.

Steven Espinosa: Try to create a small, uncluttered space that is dedicated to quiet introspection and is free from everyday distractions. You can even make a small alter where you can place candles, incense or pictures to reflect upon while doing your practice. Oh, and if possible, turn off your cell phone. Easier said than done, I know.

Tara Judelle: Regularity and routine are your friends. Establish a time that works for you to practice.  I like early in the morning, before emails, phone calls, and business happen to help establish the tone of the day. But barring that any time is better than no time.

Establishing a place in your house that is dedicated to practice also helps. Where you have your mat, your props, and that even just looking at it helps. Don’t be afraid to make your routine yours.  Most classes follow a specific routine, but most people stay away from home practice because they think they don’t know what to do.  Give yourself a time- like even 20 minutes, and then see what you can recall.  If you aren’t specifically using a yogaglo class, perhaps start with Sun salutations.  Or think of a pose and see what can help you get to that pose. This way you start to develop a different part of your brain then the one that simply receives instructions, and begin to emancipate yourself from outside teachers and become your own teacher. You can work from books, magazines, or your own intuition.

Taylor Harkness: Make the practice a part of your day, a part of your routine. Maybe you practice for 15-20 minutes before you shower in the morning, or perhaps for 10 calming minutes before bedtime. Either way, make a consistent routine that you look forward to. And don’t be afraid to clear some space and invite a friend over for an online class, like on YogaGlo.com. Having a fellow cheerleader to laugh and sweat with can make all the difference.

Tiffany Cruikshank: Consistency is key!  Don’t worry about how long the practice is, just make sure you get on your mat consistently.  This is one of the many reasons I love Yogaglo, because you can find a bunch of great well rounded short classes to fit into your day.



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