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Does Yoga Create Self-Love and Kindness?

Whether your budget has gotten tighter, your schedule doesn't line up with your local yoga studio, or you don't have any in-person yoga classes where you live, you can still practice yoga at home! There are many reasons why you might want to incorporate yoga into your home life routine. In my personal experience, I’ve found that bringing yoga home and making it your own grants students the opportunity to create a more intimate relationship with themselves, creating self-love and kindness in, their bodies, and their needs, but also requires some discipline. I believe that yoga is meant to meet you where you are, and should be available to all types of people.

Create A Self-Love and Kindness Mindset

When you start any new routine, it’s important to be honest with yourself about WHY you want to make that change in your lifestyle. So take the time to ask yourself WHY you want to bring more yoga into your life.

- Is it because you want to feel stronger in your body? - Is it because you want to feel more balanced in your mind? - Are you trying to nail a specific yoga pose? - Do you want to bring more energy into your day? - Do you want to build your confidence? - Do you want to build more structure into your routine?

Whatever it is, keep your WHY in mind each day. It will keep you motivated to roll out your mat and get to work.

Remember that yoga is more than a physical practice. In order to reap the most benefits from yoga, you have to commit to focusing on the present and cultivating an attitude of playfulness and acceptance.

Some poses will be hard. You will fall down. You will look silly. Your muscles will be tight. Your balance will be off.

A pose that you mastered yesterday might feel impossible today.

That’s all normal, and that’s all part of the practice!

Try your best to approach each practice with a sense of curiosity rather than judgment. Not only will this help you practice self-love and kindness, but you’ll also find that kindly coaching yourself through tough flows will be much more beneficial than nasty internal comments.

Try Different Types Of Yoga

If you’ve ever been a part of a yoga studio or even looked at a yoga studio’s calendar, you’ll know that there's more than one type of yoga. While a home practice means that you can borrow from multiple practices and create your own flow based on whatever you feel you need, understanding the different types can help you in your research.

Vinyasa - Perhaps the most popular style of yoga, vinyasa links the breath with movement to create a rhythmic flow. If you want to move, vinyasa is a good place to start.

Kundalini - Brought to the West in the late 1960s by Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga refers to the “life force energy” which is thought to be tightly coiled at the base of the spine. Your practice may include chanting, singing, and meditating in addition to poses. This is a physical and spiritual practice with an emphasis on chanting.

Ashtanga - Ashtanga consists of six series of specific poses taught in order. Each pose is typically “given” to a student once their teacher decides they are ready for it. Traditionally, an ashtanga practice is very regimented with hands-on adjustments and silence in the background. For beginner at-home yogis, traditional ashtanga likely isn’t the best choice.

Yin - Yin yoga is a style where poses are held for at least a minute and up to five minutes. With roots in martial arts, yin is designed to increase circulation and improve flexibility by targeting connective tissues. If you want a slow-paced practice, are feeling especially sore and tense, or just need to relax, yin yoga can offer juicy stretches that honor stillness and focus on the breath.

Bikram - Typically practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, this 90-minute practice sticks to a very particular routine of postures and breathing exercises. Traditionally, there are many rules (like no drinking until a certain amount of time has passed in class), so studios will call it “hot yoga” instead. If you’re interested in learning about the routine of Bikram without the heat, this highly-physical practice might be worth looking into.

Power - Power yoga is less spiritual and focuses on strength training and flexibility. If you’re looking for a high-intensity yoga-inspired workout, power yoga might be perfect for you.

Restorative - This form of yoga is the most low-key you can get. Some equate the practice to a guided nap because it’s actually perfectly acceptable to fall asleep as you relax into each pose. With the use of lots of props, restorative yoga is great for when you’re in pain, need to de-stress, or generally struggle to relax.

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