BY ELAINE CLARA
Many of us experience this time and again. We want to commit ourselves to a regular yoga practice but, just like committing ourselves to regular gym sessions or regular fitness workouts, we find it difficult to stick to a routine. Distractions are aplenty. Work gets in the way. Other more pressing matters need to be attended to. And the list goes on…
But to really reap the benefits of yoga, a regular practice is necessary. The effects of a yoga practice are cumulative. When you practice asanas and pranayama, you are releasing the blocks in your Nadis (energy channels). This allows for more prana to flow and stay inside the body as opposed to flowing out of it. A frequent practice maintains and regulates this flow. The more you practice, the quicker you benefit from your practice rather than beginning from square one again each time you pick your practice up again after a few months of absence.
Perhaps it is too difficult to commit to going to a yoga class daily. After all, so many factors come into play – time, location, cost, etc. At some point, you may find that you just can’t afford it and the commitment to daily practice wavers yet again.
And herein lies the beauty of yoga. Armed with a mat and self-determination, you can practice anywhere and anytime, even from the comforts of your own home.
Though a home practice means that you don’t have the luxury of face-to-face interactions with your teacher, you are able to practice at your own pace, without feeling the pressure of trying to do better than the person next to you (yes many of us are guilty of that). You can take your time settling into poses, staying there for as long or as little as you like. The length of time you put into your practice depends entirely on you and what you’re comfortable with.
Here are some tips on practicing yoga at home:
1. Dedicate a space to yoga
Whether it’s a room or just a small space at the corner of your living area, devote an area specifically to your yoga practice. You don’t need much room, just somewhere you can lie out your mat and be comfortable. Ideally, the area should be quiet and spacious, allowing you to be calm and relaxed. But really, anywhere is possible. Get creative!
2. Yoga accessories
Sometimes you need blocks and straps to help you get into poses. But don’t go running out and buying these just yet. It is most likely that you are able to substitute these with items you can find in your home. Use books to replace your blocks and belts or towels to replace straps. If you find books to be too uncomfortable, pillows and blankets come in handy too!
3. Maintain a regular practice
It doesn’t have to be daily. Once or twice a week is fine. Even every week is still considered a regular practice!
4. Make your practice fun
Don’t push yourself too much. Keep your practice fun and you’ll find that you will look forward to it instead of dreading it. As with anything, if you don’t enjoy your practice, the chances of you sticking to it regularly are slim.
5. Keep your practice simple
Find that you can’t remember most of the asanas you did at a yoga class? It’s okay. Just work with what you know. A few sun salutations a day might just be enough for you. If you are looking for more, the Internet is full of yoga sites that gives you easy-to-follow, simple, daily sequences that you can try out and build your practice from there. The goal is to start somewhere.
6. Subscribe to an online class
If you are looking for daily practice with interactive guidance, subscribe to online classes! Sites like Ekhart Yoga provide a variety of yoga classes taught by qualified international yoga teachers. They have hundreds of yoga videos for you to choose from. Their Yoga Willpower Workout program will help train both your body and willpower and help you develop healthy habits in no time.
What are you waiting for? Dust off that mat and begin your practice today. As yoga Guru Pattabhi Jois famously said, “Practice and all is coming.”