I believe that yoga is meant to meet you where you are, and should be available to all types of people. Regardless of your financial situation, level of experience, or proximity to a professional studio, you too can discover the many benefits that yoga has to offer.
Let's explore effective and sustainable ways that you can start integrating yoga into your daily routine and start reaping the benefits.
Where Will You Practice To Get The BEST Benefits of Yoga?
One of the biggest reasons people worry about creating a home practice is because they think they don’t have enough space. In reality, all you really need is enough space to roll out your yoga mat!
As you explore your at-home yoga practice, it’s important to pay attention to your needs and what makes you most comfortable. Ask yourself, “Would I feel better if I created a designated space?”
Some people are fine flowing wherever it’s convenient, next to their bed, in the corner of their living room, or in their backyard.
If the thought of rolling out your yoga mat in the middle of your living room is something that just won’t fly, take these steps to carve out a little slice of zen in your home:
- Find a space that’s well-lit and quiet. You want to see what you’re doing, especially if you’re utilizing a mirror to check your posture and alignment. If you can’t find a perfectly quiet space, consider finding some music to tune out sound pollution.
- Get rid of clutter. A pile of unread mail, scattered shoes, and dirty laundry doesn’t exactly scream “peaceful,” so take some time to get those distractions out of your line of sight. If you don’t have storage space or your living space is small, consider investing in a curtain or room divider to keep distractions out of sight.
- Alert your housemates. If you’re dedicating an hour to yoga, let your roommate, significant other, and kids know. Tell them that you won’t be available until your practice is over.
- Create a focal point. Whether you’re practicing balances or just trying to focus your attention, it can be helpful to have a stationary visual to concentrate on. Whether that’s a piece of art, a plant, or a spot on the floor, having access to a “Drishti” can really improve your practice.
What does your ideal yoga space look like?
Pick The Right Props
Yoga has been practiced for over 3,000 years—long before fancy mats, and other props were available. So if you’re worried that you won’t be able to practice without throwing down a few hundred dollars on gear and equipment, don’t be.
You CAN practice yoga consistently and effectively without props.
That being said, props can be useful tools to help you feel more comfortable and supported in your flow. They can also help you avoid injury, stretch more deeply, and stay in poses for a longer period of time. So let’s talk about what those props are and how you can create a DIY version for yourself if you’re just getting started.
Yoga blocks - Blocks have lots of uses. They can act as an extension of your arm if you’re in a balance pose like half-moon or triangle, as support for the lower back in bridge pose, or as a tool to rest your knees on during butterfly pose. If you don’t have a block, books will work too—just make sure that they’re sturdy enough and not slippery!
Yoga strap - Straps can help you get deeper into binds, pull your head closer to your feet in folds, and help you get a better grip on poses you’re trying to hold for long periods of time. If you don’t have a strap, any long and sturdy piece of fabric will work. Try a belt, t-shirt, or dishtowel.
Bolster - Bolsters help you prop up your spine in the fish pose, support your hip in pigeon, and just make you feel more comfortable overall in any resting position. If you don’t want to invest in a studio-worthy bolster, an overstuffed pillow will do just fine.
Blanket - Most yoga studios will invest in heavyweight knit blankets, but any blanket will do. Basically, you need a piece of fabric that you can roll or fold to give you height should you sit, and support should you need to tuck it under a knee or hip. Blankets can also be used to cover up during savasana to get extra comfy!
Do you typically use props when you practice? If so, which ones have you found most useful? Are there any props that you’re curious about? Share your questions with me!
Find The Time
Many people are under the false impression that in order to practice yoga “right,” you have to dedicate (at least) a full hour. This simply isn’t true!
While you might know people who take a 90-minute yoga class once a week, it’s actually more beneficial to practice every day than dedicate a big chunk of your time on a less regular basis.
When you’re creating a routine, shoot for a set amount of time each day, at roughly the same time. This could mean that you do 20 minutes of flow each morning when you wake up. This could also mean that on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you carve out 15 minutes at lunch while Tuesday and Thursday evenings are for a longer bout of stretching before bed.
The most important thing to remember is that not every day will be the same. Some days you’ll feel ready to tackle a 60-minute, high-energy vinyasa practice, while other days, 5 minutes of sun salutations will be all you can manage.
My best advice is to try and lock down at least 5 minutes a day for stretching because your priority is to keep your muscles loose and give your body the release it craves.
The best thing about at-home yoga practices is that you can tune in to what your body needs and make your practice your own!