Make your home yoga practice special. Otherwise, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of it when you’re on the fence. We’ve all been there. Here are some things that help me with my practice, which is a 90% home-based practice and has been for over three years. It has required some creativity for me to stay this disciplined.
1) Practice in a clean space – When I had a rug in my living room, I vacuumed before every practice. Now, I sweep the floor meticulously and sometimes I even wipe the floor clean with a paper towel dipped in a water and vinegar mixture. You want to create a space where locust pose doesn’t result in a study in pet hair and dirt trapped in your rug. Also, as you work to cleanse your body and mind during your practice, it only makes sense that the space around you emulate that state.
2) Practice in an uncluttered space – You know what really irks me? When I have to move props around in order to get into a particular pose, like fallen warrior or pigeon. I also dislike touching things when I’m in a supine pose, especially savasana. In a yoga studio, sometimes you need to keep your props close due to lack of space. At home, I can keep it within arm’s reach but I take care not to leave props so close that I knock them down or touch them when I’m transitioning poses.
3) Make it smell lovely – Burn incense, light candles, melt wax, throw a Scentsy nearby, bake a pie – whatever triggers your sense of smell to relax or focus is great. A familiar smell, or a scent you release every time you do yoga, will create a sensory reaction. So if you don’t know whether you want to roll out your mat, burn the incense first and it will create a desire to practice similar to that of a Pavlovian response. This particular point has REALLY helped me during lazy times.
4) Create lighting appropriate to the mood of your practice – This one is simple; low light for relaxation and more light for an invigorating practice. Or, you might happen to desire the opposite lighting for the practice you’re planning on that day – whatever you need, do it. I find creating a lighting mood different from that of just sitting around on the computer/watching Netflix/reading helps set the tone for yoga.
5) Change up your style of yoga – Try a different style of yoga, a different teacher, or go against the grain of your normal practice. If you tend to lean towards a vigorous practice, try something a little more mindful or slow. If you shy away from intermediate or advanced videos, give it a go and do what you can. Challenging yourself to calm down or shake things up when you tend to do the opposite is a great way to learn more about what you NEED in a yoga practice. Very often the yoga we want to do should be balanced with yoga we need to do once in a while. If nothing else, something different can spark that curiosity in our brain we didn’t know was there and lead us down a new path.
6) Do less time than you originally committed to – You planned on a whole 90 minutes of yoga today including meditation and pranayama for a half hour later in the evening, on top of dinner and work and playing with your dogs and – but you just don’t think you can focus on anything, even yoga, for that long. Cut the time down in half or even a little less, and commit to a practice that is only a fraction of what you planned. It’s better than doing nothing, and very often after you get going, you’ll crave more afterwards.
7) Bring your favorite drink or treat to the mat – I bring a big mug of chai (more like a soup bowl) with me to the mat in the mornings. I sip on it when I feel like it, because I can pause my practice/video and resume when I damned well please. Take some chocolate pieces with you, or goji berries, or a handful of nuts, or something you really enjoy should you feel the need for something to nosh on during the practice. It’s one of the many advantages you get being at home!
Remember, a home practice should be special. Inserting aspects to the practice you cannot do or have no control over at a studio is the key to overcoming the “Rolling Out Your Mat” blues. Happy Breathing!